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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist dhtmlhelp's Avatar
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    Access Keys - How?

    Hi,

    I am not sure this is the right category for this question. Some of you may know about accesibility access keys, ALT shortcuts that are predetermined to give access to accessibility instructions, the home page, site map, ecc.

    My question is does anybody know how to set up these access keys, and if it is done in css?

    Also are there standards?

    thanks,

    DH

  2. #2
    Ceci n'est pas Zoef Zoef's Avatar
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    It's done in html and this is how:
    http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/interac...html#h-17.11.2

    Rik
    English tea - Italian coffee - Maltese wine - Belgian beer - French Cognac

  3. #3
    SitePoint Evangelist dhtmlhelp's Avatar
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    Hi Zoef,

    thanks!!

    Do you know where I can find the specifications depending on the accessibility needs ("Authors should consider the input method of the expected reader when specifying an accesskey")

    happy like an easter egg

    DH

  4. #4
    Ceci n'est pas Zoef Zoef's Avatar
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    You're welcome!

    I'm not aware of any such specification but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    Rik
    English tea - Italian coffee - Maltese wine - Belgian beer - French Cognac

  5. #5
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    I know that certain keys have "best practices" associated with them, i.e. the accesskey of "1" should go to the homepage. I don't have the reference on hand, but I'll do a quick search.

    Off Topic:

    Also, this thread should probably be in the "accessibility and usability" forum. I'll see if an Advisor can move it .

  6. #6
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    http://diveintoaccessibility.org/day...shortcuts.html has a simple overview. i have implemented the e-envoy (UK Govt) ones on some of my sites http://www.e-envoy.gov.uk/oee/oee.nsf/sections/webguidelines-content/$file/04.htm#4
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
    [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
    WaSP Accessibility Task Force Member
    splintered.co.uk | photographia.co.uk | redux.deviantart.com

  7. #7
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    ALA seems to be very timely on this matter as well, as they just posted an article on accesskeys .
    http://www.alistapart.com/stories/accesskeys/

    Happy reading!

  8. #8
    SitePoint Evangelist dhtmlhelp's Avatar
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    There is an accessibility Forum! YES!

    Thanks vgarcia

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard
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    vgarcia, I read the alistapart link yesterday and although I really like what they've done it's just re-emphasized one of the main drawbacks of accesskeys and that is consistency. As I have discussed before and redux mentioned, I assign accesskeys as recommended by the e-Envoy, for work and non-work related sites. To me this is the closest I've seen to any set standard so for anyone to use another only adds more confusion!

  10. #10
    SitePoint Evangelist dhtmlhelp's Avatar
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    http://www.e-envoy.gov.uk/oee/oee.nsf/sections/webguidelines-content/$file/04.htm

    Daz, exactly, find a link here for standard access keys as defined by the british government.

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    SitePoint Wizard
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    That's what I use m8, sorry if I didn't make that clear. I work in Government so have no choice but I think it's a good standard to follow. I just meant if people using the Alistapart technique make up their own accesskeys then it just confuses the issue.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Evangelist dhtmlhelp's Avatar
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    I agree Daz. I could not find any standards for othe countries though, I am curious to know if the EU has adopted the same standards as the UK or viceversa, and if the USA has any say.

    Hope someone can post some good links, Ill keep on looking.

    DH

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I couldn't find any WAI or Section 508 recommendations but I did find this useful link where someone has investigated the matter.

    http://www.clagnut.com/blog/193/

    One other interesting point worth noting is that this guy states something which I always thought was true. That there are certain keys you can't assign eg alt + F will bring up the file menu in IE. However, I was looking at this site - http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/index.cf...n=english.main - which alistapart mentions in their accesskeys article and they use this accesskey and it works as intended. Could it be the accesskey overwrites the browser commands?

  14. #14
    SitePoint Evangelist dhtmlhelp's Avatar
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    Exactly, accesskeys overwrite browser alt functions

    but I would stay away from browser keys

    they may create confusion to the user who uses them normally


    that is why in the e-envoy specs there are no such keys, and only ALT-S is used as a letter accesskey


    EDIT: As you article pointed out:
    Reserved Keys in IE 5.5/6
    F – File
    E – Edit
    V – View
    A – Favorites
    T – Tools
    D – Address
    H – Help

    Reserved Keys in NS 7
    F – File
    E – Edit
    V – View
    G – Go
    B – Bookmarks
    T – Tools
    H – Help
    W – Window

    Reserved Keys in Opera 7
    F – File
    E – Edit
    V – View
    N – Navigate
    B – Bookmark
    M – Mail
    W – Window
    H – Help

  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Do screen readers read out link tags? It's not a tag I use other than for my external stylesheets. Would this be a possible alternative to using accesskeys?

  16. #16
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    well, i don't know about other screenreaders, but JAWS doesn't. interestingly, however, lynx displays LINKs...
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
    [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
    WaSP Accessibility Task Force Member
    splintered.co.uk | photographia.co.uk | redux.deviantart.com

  17. #17
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    I might as well drag one of my old posts backup; I try and follow the Government Recommendations for the keys assignments, since I assume they have done extensive research on the topic.

    I decided against underlining; since styling is applied via CSS and could easily be overridden by the liveware at the user-agent end, thus using CSS alone would be Catch-22.

    I agree that application of structural mark-up in general; to help define the "key value" should support the appropriate access-key that appears upon a web page - assuming the key value appears within a specific word.

    Now for the strange beast called; Opera, holding down the ALT and pressing the appropriate accesskey may be an interesting exercise...

    I remember it being something similar to SHIFT+ESC and the access key, which makes life more fun.

  18. #18
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    By the way, concerning accesskeys, do you all also think that visible accesskeys would be also a good solution?

    For example:

    <a href="/home.html" title="Homepage" accesskey="H">Home</a> <small>[H]</small>

  19. #19
    SitePoint Evangelist dhtmlhelp's Avatar
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    I think that is a great idea if your layout allows for it. Alternatively I would put a clear Accessibility link with the relevant ALT accesskey (which I think is 0).

    DH

  20. #20
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhtmlhelp
    I think that is a great idea if your layout allows for it. Alternatively I would put a clear Accessibility link with the relevant ALT accesskey (which I think is 0).

    DH
    You mean listing an accesskey value in an image alt text? If so, that will not be helpful. Accesskey helps mobility-impaired people more than blind people, and most mobility-impaired users will not have access to the alt text. The issue of making accesskeys values actually understandable and usable to users is not easy in the first place, but this is the wrong way to do it.

  21. #21
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhtmlhelp
    Exactly, accesskeys overwrite browser alt functions

    but I would stay away from browser keys

    they may create confusion to the user who uses them normally


    that is why in the e-envoy specs there are no such keys, and only ALT-S is used as a letter accesskey


    EDIT: As you article pointed out:
    Reserved Keys in IE 5.5/6
    F – File
    E – Edit
    V – View
    A – Favorites
    T – Tools
    D – Address
    H – Help

    Reserved Keys in NS 7
    F – File
    E – Edit
    V – View
    G – Go
    B – Bookmarks
    T – Tools
    H – Help
    W – Window

    Reserved Keys in Opera 7
    F – File
    E – Edit
    V – View
    N – Navigate
    B – Bookmark
    M – Mail
    W – Window
    H – Help
    Can you tell us the source of this info?

  22. #22
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webnauts
    Can you tell us the source of this info?
    http://www.clagnut.com/blog/193/
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
    [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
    WaSP Accessibility Task Force Member
    splintered.co.uk | photographia.co.uk | redux.deviantart.com

  23. #23
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redux
    Thanks a lot redux! Very helpful!!!

  24. #24
    SitePoint Evangelist dhtmlhelp's Avatar
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    Hey webnauts,

    I wished I could speak german. Let me put it another way. If your layout allows for it use:

    <a href='home.html' title='' accesskey='H'>Home</a> [H]

    although I would stay away from H and use 1 as an accesskey.

    Alternatively use a <a href='accessibility.html' title='' accesskey='0'>Accessibility</a> link in a clear place. You should put in accessibility.html the instructions to how to use access keys on your site, although you might want to stick to the UK standards, it's up to you, although germans tend to copy .

    Hope what I tried to say is clearer, as to images and alt text I would stay away, unless your home link is an image, then you might want to use alt='Accesskey 1' or alt='Accesskey H'.

    Beste Wόnsche,

    DH

  25. #25
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhtmlhelp
    Hey webnauts,

    I wished I could speak german. Let me put it another way. If your layout allows for it use:

    <a href="home.html" title='' accesskey='H'>Home</a> [H]

    although I would stay away from H and use 1 as an accesskey.

    Alternatively use a <a href="accessibility.html" title='' accesskey='0'>Accessibility</a> link in a clear place. You should put in accessibility.html the instructions to how to use access keys on your site, although you might want to stick to the UK standards, it's up to you, although germans tend to copy [img]images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/img].

    Hope what I tried to say is clearer, as to images and alt text I would stay away, unless your home link is an image, then you might want to use alt='Accesskey 1' or alt='Accesskey H'.

    Beste Wόnsche,

    DH
    Thanks DHTMLhelp for your comments:

    Though I have some questions:

    1. Do all browsers implement the XHTML standard, including accesskey, rather than picking and choosing which subcomponents to support?

    2. Is the standard clarified to make accesskey either a true accesskey (likely limited to US-ASCII letters, numerals, and some punctuation, irrespective of the damage this does to users of other keyboards) or an accesscharacter (which would require more than one keystroke)?

    3. Can users use some capacity other than telepathy to figure out which accesskeys have been defined, and such visual display can be controlled and styled? The UK Goverment have developed accesskey standards, which maybe the Germans really take after, but that does not suppose to mean that all countries use these standards. Or?
    Also enough of page authors use their own accesskeys, for diverse reasons.

    4. Have all conflicts with browser and operating systems, not just Windows, been worked out?


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