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    Accesskeys

    Whats the best way to implement them and how many should you use? Should you use transparent gifs or very small text, should you have accesskeys for all of your main links or just use the standard ones. Should you include them on every page, I'd like to know your thoughts

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    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    that's two issues really. as far as accesskeys are concerned, i would say use them for things like your main site links and the search box, if you have one. keep them to a minimum (otherwise i think they may become too confusing), and have them on every page for recurring elements (e.g. the main navigation elements common across all pages).
    as for using either transparent gifs or very small text...if those are the options, i'd say go for transparent 1px x 1px gifs. alternatively, you can use CSS to hide elements from visual display.
    just thoughts though...i haven't looked into the matter too much, i have to admit...
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    Incoherent drivel since 1975 Zopester's Avatar
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    Well accesskeys can be used on any link, image or text, so it's up to you. As for where to implement them:

    http://diveintoaccessibility.org/day...shortcuts.html should get you started!
    Recommended Reading:
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    That's true but ppl would have to learn them as they'd be unique to your site whereas if you stick with the recommended accesskeys only then ppl wouldn't get so confused.

    I've tried using css and setting text to display: none; but I find it doesn't work sometimes and accesskeys in general are fairly browser reliant, with IE being the most friendly.

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    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daz
    accesskeys in general are fairly browser reliant, with IE being the most friendly.
    i might be mistaken, but i think most visually impaired users with a screenreader do use IE, as the screenreader software hooks into IE a lot easier than other browsers...at least, i seem to remember reading something to that effect. i do know (as i have it here) that JAWS offers special shortcuts specific for IE...so it's a safe assumption that adding accesskeys - even if they work best only in IE - will benefit the visually impaired users.
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    SitePoint Enthusiast lhatkins's Avatar
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    The problem I see with access keys is that there is no standard, people use them in different ways and in the end it all becomes confusing, so I'm not convinced they're of much use. If there was a set standard for use of this feature it would be of more use, other wise you'll have to put in some explanation of how they work and on what options they work on.
    Regards

    ---
    Lee

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    Incoherent drivel since 1975 Zopester's Avatar
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    you'll have to put in some explanation of how they work and on what options they work on
    And this is hard because...???

    Just add a link to an accessibility statement in your navigation. There you can set out your accesskey combinations, as well as any other information you feel may be useful.
    Recommended Reading:
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    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhatkins
    The problem I see with access keys is that there is no standard, people use them in different ways and in the end it all becomes confusing, so I'm not convinced they're of much use. If there was a set standard for use of this feature it would be of more use, other wise you'll have to put in some explanation of how they work and on what options they work on.
    i completely agree. too many access keys can become more of a nuisance than an actual help. i'm in the middle of a site redesign, and only implemented three keys altogether, taking inspiration from the WebAIM and UK Government guidelines listed at http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/forms/accesskey.html

    Alt+1: home page
    Alt+2: skip to content / skip navigation
    Alt+4: puts focus on the standard search box included in the pages' header
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    I work for the Northern Ireland Civil Service and at the moment followed the UK Government Accesskeys System for our Departmental website I recently did. Here's a link to the e-envoy page giving the recommended standard keys, this is what I tend to follow on all sites I do not, whether personal or work related - http://www.e-envoy.gov.uk/oee/oee.ns...t/$file/04.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daz
    Whats the best way to implement them and how many should you use? Should you use transparent gifs or very small text, should you have accesskeys for all of your main links or just use the standard ones. Should you include them on every page, I'd like to know your thoughts
    On the subject of forms, I've just added a Dreamweaver 4 mod to Accessify to include a <label> tag, and this includes in input for accesskey.

    More info here:
    http://www.accessify.com/tools-and-w...ifications.asp
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    SitePoint Enthusiast lhatkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zopester
    And this is hard because...???

    Just add a link to an accessibility statement in your navigation. There you can set out your accesskey combinations, as well as any other information you feel may be useful.
    Its not the point that's its hard or not, its the pont that everyone uses them differently as there is no standard so it ends up becoming more confusing than a help.

    But it looks like that Home, skip menu are common, so I don't mind using them, but if you start using them on your menus you'll end up with a huge list, (on a big site) and everyone's site is different and not all menus are the same, W3C should bring out a standard for Access Key use, that would help.

    I have no problem in using a feature like this, as I do want to make the sites I'm in charge of designing as accessable as possible, but I don't want to end up just confusing people by over complications.
    Regards

    ---
    Lee

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    Incoherent drivel since 1975 Zopester's Avatar
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    Why would you even contemplate using accesskeys on anything but the most basic site navigation? I'm not being deliberately obtuse, just trying to understand. After all, if you want keyboard navigation to be possible, just implement tabindex. Problem solved, and no weird and wonderful accesskey combinations.
    Recommended Reading:
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    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Zopester,
    Next time you post here, press "alt+s" instead of clicking on the submit buttton. THAT is why accesskeys are good to have, even in forms. Not only does it help users who don't view the site in the same way you or I do, it speeds up entry of data for everybody in general.

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    Incoherent drivel since 1975 Zopester's Avatar
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    Fair enough. I'll get me coat.
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    i have to partially agree with Zopester, though. i would not consider adding access keys to each element of a menu. if the menu is long and convoluted, maybe splitting it up into more logical groups and provide some minimal access keys to those, but not each and every element.
    in my opinion, it makes sense to use the minimal ones (home, skip navigation, search,...) and some standard ones in long forms. again, not every feature on this site's forms has an accesskey assigned to it, and that's the point...it would get too confusing.
    short and sweet is the motto i think...just like me
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    SitePoint Enthusiast lhatkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zopester
    Why would you even contemplate using accesskeys on anything but the most basic site navigation? I'm not being deliberately obtuse, just trying to understand. After all, if you want keyboard navigation to be possible, just implement tabindex. Problem solved, and no weird and wonderful accesskey combinations.
    Zopester, exactly my point, I wouldn't put access keys on "every" option, but would someone "expect" each menu option to be Accesskey Enabled, I ask this because the "managers" (people to get paid a lot but know nothing IMHO) think they my links should all have accesskeys, but I disagree with them so I'm trying to make a good case for just having access keys for a few "essential" options, but I'd like to have a standard to work from. If I could throw them a W3C document and they there you go they say not go to it, they'd accept it, but they'll not accept my arguments.
    Regards

    ---
    Lee

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    Incoherent drivel since 1975 Zopester's Avatar
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    lhatkins, it seems you are cursed with one of the universal constants: death, taxes, and managers who think they know what they're drivelling on about.

    I would think a simple question directed towards them would solve the problem, and that is: which is more "accessible" - accesskey combinations for every menu option (which therefore have to be committed to memory - for just your site) or a simple, generic accesskey combination, and tabindexes on menu items?

    Provide a document containing lists of "possible accesskey combinations" - managers like to have documents to flick through - and s.n.i.g.g.e.r (EDIT: overzealous content filter, methinks) to yourself as they struggle to remember that ctrl-alt-f7 refers to "Contact Us" or whatever.

    The key is, provide them with enough information to make sure the decision they make goes the way you wanted in the first place!

    A bit off-topic, but i do like to play "manager manipulation" whenever possible...
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    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    it would be nearly impossible to find a large set of accesskeys which would work across all common browsers, across most localised language versions, and with most screenreaders and additional assistive software WITHOUT clashing with any of their built-in access keys/shortcuts. that alone makes the argument of the managers obsolete, in my opinion.
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    I go back to the link I posted above which is also kinda mirrored here - http://diveintoaccessibility.org/acc...statement.html

    Use those set of keys and nothing else (except maybe on more to skip sub nav links). It's crazy to expect someone to learn a new set of accesskeys which are specific to your site only.

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    Angry Jaws

    We are talking about things being accessable but when we talk about a piece of screen reading software which costs 900 quid or thereabouts, it sort of defeats the meaning of accessability. I've trued the trial version and it is very good but there are others out there for nothing.

    Bloody Scoundrels!

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    Sorry JAWS is what i am talking about.

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    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    off topic, but yes...JAWS' pricetag is quite steep. however, its integration with the whole windows environment and applications such as IE (with special command shortcuts specifically for those apps) is excellent.
    thing is...if there are, as you say, good, free alternatives, nobody is forcing anybody to buy JAWS...
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
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    SitePoint Enthusiast lhatkins's Avatar
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    Ok, I'm going to continue this topic, as I'm too lazy to start another.
    I've managed to get accesskeys down to 3 menu items (constant to each page) a skip menu (different menu) and a subit button. phew.

    Right here's my problem, the constant menu bar is
    Accesskey "t" Text only,
    Accesskey "g" Site guide,
    Accesskey "s" Search site,
    Accesskey "c" Contact us.
    Because my lovely manager thinks these links are important they have to have access keys, ok.
    I have a hidden link to skip the department menu.

    Right my problem is now, choosing the right letters for these keys. I know its trivial but its giving me a headache so I thought I'd share it.

    There will be a feedback form to fill in too, so there is likely to be 3 places where I need to use the letter S.
    Search our site, Skip links, and Submit form.

    HELP!

    What alternative letters can I use?

    Its times like these where a standised system would be helpful!
    Last edited by lhatkins; Mar 18, 2003 at 09:00.
    Regards

    ---
    Lee

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    Lee, there is help! You really need to follow the Government Accesskeys System, see here - http://www.e-envoy.gov.uk/oee/oee.ns...t/$file/04.htm

    Your assigned keys are wrong and like myself you need to follow the guidelines laid out in this link.

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    SitePoint Enthusiast lhatkins's Avatar
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    Nice one Daz, and being a "Government" standard my manager can't complian, cheers!

    So (lifted from siad site)
    S Skip navigation
    1 Home page
    2 What's new
    3 Site map
    4 Search
    5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
    6 Help
    7 Complaints procedure
    8 Terms and conditions
    9 Feedback form
    0 Access key details

    For reference, so I can't use a key for submit then?
    Last edited by lhatkins; Mar 18, 2003 at 10:33.
    Regards

    ---
    Lee


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