[whatwg] Improving specification of accesskey?
darin at apple.com
Wed Nov 7 11:38:05 PST 2007
On Nov 7, 2007, at 11:25 AM, Michael(tm) Smith wrote:
> A few months back, Charles McCathieNevile proposed a spec for
> accesskey on the public-html list:
> That thread is maybe worth taking some time to read
I've just read the entire thread.
As far as I can tell, what's discussed there isn't existing practice
but rather quite a few changes:
a) 'The rapid access mechanism must be able to focus the relevant
element. User agents may provide a configuration to directly activate
the element.' This does not reflect existing practice for the top
browsers. They both focus and activate in most cases.
b) 'Any focusable element supports the accesskey attribute.
Adding an accesskey to an element makes it focusable.' An interesting
new feature, but not present in today's browsers as far as I can tell.
c) 'The invocation of access keys should not interfere with the
underlying system. For instance, on machines running MS Windows, using
the "alt" key in addition to the access key would in many cases
interfere with default functions, so this should not be the rapid
access method.' While this is a major problem with accesskey, I think
that simply stating that user agents should not do this doesn't help
solve the problem. The websites and web applications that use
accesskey are often designed with the expectation that users will push
the Alt key, and a desktop browser that decided to break with existing
practice would be deemed "incompatible" with those sites an
d) 'The rendering of access keys depends on the user agent.' As
far as I know, the top browsers don't render these at all.
I was hoping HTML 5 would document existing practice in a way that's
less vague than what HTML 4 says.
We could consider changes and new features as well, but that's even
more challenging. Maciej suggested that we dump accesskey and replace
it with something that would solve the real problem, and I think
that's also worth pursuing separately.
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