[whatwg] Accesskey in Web Forms 2

Matthew Raymond mattraymond at earthlink.net
Sat Aug 21 16:53:56 PDT 2004

Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Sat, 24 Jul 2004, Kai Hendry wrote:
>>1) Users can not easily tell what the accesskeys are.
>>2) Accesskeys can conflict with the UA binds.
> I agree that we should address these.
> I think UAs should automatically highlight the accesskey (or add it in 
> brackets if it isn't already in the string). I am thinking of writing some 
> text -- optional, of course, since this wouldn't apply to all UAs or all 
> platforms -- that specifies this.

    I don't think RENDERING of the access key should be optional. The 
vendor may implement rendering access keys as they see fit, but the user 
must have an immediate, obvious method of finding these keys without 
going through a set of menus or some similar obscuring nonsense. Here's 
the text I have for this currently:

"User agents must render the value of an access key. Access keys should 
be rendered in such a way as to emphasize its role and to distinguish it 
from other characters (e.g., by underlining it). Vendors should make 
every attempt to render access keys in a way that is consistent with the 
native operating system or platform UI conventions. In cases where the 
access key is not contained in the label text, the access key may, if 
native conventions permit, be rendered in brackets or parentheses before 
or after the label associated with a control."

> I also think that there should be an accesskey value which is basically 
> "auto", and which picks a non-clashing access key based on the element 
> content.

    What's the purpose of this? Are there really situations where there 
are so many access keys that the webmaster doesn't want to bother with 
keeping track of them and just wants them auto-assigned? I think it 
would be better to just check for overlapping |accesskey| values and 
just autoselect when there is a conflict. The text could go like this:

"In the event that more than one element had the same value for the 
<code>accesskey</code> attribute, the first element to declare the 
access key should remain the same, while later access keys may be 
automatically assigned to an unused key, giving preference to unused 
keys that are contained in the associated label."

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