[whatwg] Accesskey in Web Forms 2

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Tue Dec 7 19:30:18 PST 2004

On Wed, 17 Nov 2004, James Graham wrote:
> > >    
> > > > Say you're writing a game (www.voidwars.com, for instance). You 
> > > > want a shortcut for "show minimap", a shortcut for "just to 
> > > > research screen", a shortcut for "select next scout ship with no 
> > > > orders".
> > 
> > Right, accesskey is a terrible solution for this problem.
> Surely accesskey is better; since the author knows what the key 
> combination is in advance they can specify it in the game screen. With 
> access one either has the browser randomly assigning key shortcuts, 
> hence making the keys hard to discover or the user defining their own 
> shortcuts, with no defaults, which is complex and so unlikely to be 
> undertaken by many users.

The problems with accesskey="" in this scenario are two fold. First, you 
have no way to really know what the actual key combination is (alt+m? 
cmd+m? ctrl+m? shift+esc+m?), so you can't really say what it is. Second, 
you don't want to use such a combination. You want M. Just M, no other 
key. Or, you might want the arrow keys to do something (like, move a 
ship). You don't want Alt+U, Alt+D, etc.

At the moment, for a game (or an application like GMail), JavaScript and 
non-trivial event listeners is the way this is done. I'm interested in 
finding a more declarative way of doing this. Maybe XML Events 2 is the 
way to go with this, though, in which case WHATWG needn't touch it.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

More information about the whatwg mailing list