[whatwg] Improving specification of accesskey?

Michael(tm) Smith mike at w3.org
Wed Nov 7 13:09:22 PST 2007

timeless <timeless at gmail.com>, 2007-11-07 22:38 +0200:

> Personally, I hate accesskey. I understand that it was invented
> because someone felt it would solve a problem, however I believe it
> creates many more problems than it solves.

I won't argue with any of that. But I will point out that
accesskey markup is already widely used in a large number of
sites. So if we want to the spec to describe how a conformant UA
is expected to handle that existing content, then we need it
spec'ed -- regardless of whatever new markup we might be able to
come up with the replace/improve on accesskey.

> This isn't to say that I'm against accessibility, I just don't think
> this feature makes sites more accessible. If each site picks different
> bindings (and they do/will), it's worse than the web browser
> automatically and consistently assigning bindings the user likes.

I don't personally have much insight into how widely/appropriately
used accesskey is for desktop accessibility use cases. What I do
know is that it's very commonly used in sites that take into
consideration the browsing context of access from a mobile device
that has only a keypad and 5-way (or directional pad or whatever
you want to call it) instead of a real keyboard and pointing
device. For that context, accesskey definitely does make sites
more usable and accessible.


Michael(tm) Smith
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