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  1. #51
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tyssen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Why can't you see that Opera is not always the gold standard and that sometimes changes Opera makes are wrong headed. To always defend Opera and try to make us believe that Opera is always right is also arrogant.
    I don't know why you're addressing that to me. I haven't made any claims about Opera in this thread. All I've done is point out the flaws in your line of argument.

  2. #52
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    From an accessibility point of view, it's not a major issue, though. Opera provides spatial navigation as a power alternative to the primitive tab back and forth mechanism.
    How can you say this??????

    Tab navigation is one of the most basic and most important parts of accessibility. I was taught this all the way back in 1995 when the term "accessibility" hadn't even been coined. Part of accessibility is making sure things work in an intuitive fashion and being able to navigate via the tab key is the most intuitive fashion of keyboard navigation. Especially since this is the way it has always been done across a wide range of applications. Heck even in the days of DOS the tab key was king of navigation.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    An Opera user who needs keyboard navigation, or merely prefers it, like me, can still access the links via keyboard. Ergo, accessibility does not suffer.
    Wrong!!!!!!!

    Accessibility suffers anytime the software breaks the most intuitive/customary form of navigation.

    [snip]

    It is not a dependable functionality change. You Opera fanboys always rail on web developers as being stupid/lazy because their sites don't work correctly in Opera and you are always the first to jump on the accessibility band wagon toting how great Opera is for accessibility. Well guess what? Your precious browser broken the cardinal of accessibility.

    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    Did you call their developers arrogant and stupid as well?
    I had very similar choice words for Mozilla developers when I realized the tooltips bug had been reported six years earlier and still had not been fixed. It was again a fairly important functionality/accessibility bug that was being dismissed. I made my opinion known in Bugzilla, blogged about it and ranted about it in several forums. I also took great pains to fully implement the TITLE attribute as it was intended to be used even though 10% (now 15%) of the users of my site could not properly see the TITLE attributes. It has been a year since I first found the tooltip bug report in Bugzilla and there is finally a patch coming into being, which supposedly will be part of Firefox 3.

    I have gone to great lengths over the years to do my best to balance design objectives with accessibility in my web development and I really agonize over many of my design decisions. As such it really torks me off to see people off-handedly dismiss fundamental browser accessibility issues like the tab key behavior in Opera and broken tooltips in Firefox.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    No, but constructive criticism is usually more productive than name-calling.
    Normally I would agree with you, and it is my preferred course of action (I have even filed "bug reports" via the Opera forums, but in this case it was becoming apparent that there are a few Opera apologist here that needed to be hit upside the head with a clue bat.

    I was seeing the standard "Opera knows best" attitude Opera lovers could not see past their blind love for Opera.

    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    I've criticised Opera, pointing out a couple of issues where it didn't comply with the CSS specification. I did so by providing minimal examples that showed the error and by pointing out how it should be. Guess what – their allegedly arrogant and stupid developers had fixed both issues by the next release.
    Well guess what I have reported significant CSS errors in the most diplomatic way possible and other Opera users confirmed the error and it still exists a couple years later. What's more the error was introduced into Opera somewhere around Opera 7.5 and Opera 8.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    First, you are able to 'tab' through links using A/Q. The only quirk is that the sequence sometimes doesn't start at the first link.
    Rendering it useless.

    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    Secondly, there is a better way for keyboard navigation, viz., spatial navigation.
    Not intuitive. Someone has to point this functionality out. It isn't something someone is going to naturally try the way they will the tab key.

    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    That makes keyboard navigation more accessible in Opera than in other browsers.
    Thus, there is no real accessibility issue with keyboard navigation in Opera.
    Stating otherwise is spreading FUD.
    [snip]

    Read very carefully. Breaking the most fundamental means of keyboard navigation negates any accessibility gains from other nifty means of keyboard navigation. As long as the tab key does not function the way it has always functioned in regards to keyboard navigation, then Opera's accessibility is incomplete and inferior to all other browsers. You can not break navigation methods people have come to expect and then say Opera' is superior in accessibility.

    For software on a computer to be truly accessible, they must all behave in a similar fashion such that users don't have to remember program specific navigation techniques. The most basic form of navigation is the tab key. Opera breaks this and does something different. This ruins its overall accessibility. Look, the shift+arrow key combination is cool, but it can not be implemented at the exclusion of the tab key functioning in the proper fashion.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    I don't pledge blind allegiance to Opera, but I think it deserves fair treatment.
    I have always given Opera fair treatment, except when I used to use (and register) Opera, at which time I was too much of an Opera fanboy. I'd love to see Opera have a larger market share, at the expense of MSIE.

    Even when I had my little "war" with Opera software over their business practices I still had great admiration for the overall quality of Opera the browser.

    The fact of the matter is that Opera has a serious accessibility issue that needs to be fixed. To deny this is to be an apologist for Opera.

    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    But there's a big difference between pointing out flaws in software and calling a company arrogant and stupid.
    Just take those comments as how mad the Opera fanboys are making me in dismissing this issue. To rail about "standards" and accessibility and then to excuse the tab issue as trivial is hypocritical at best. Quite frankly I've grown weary of Opera fanboys claiming their browser is the best in a religious fervor and attacking anyone who points out legitimate issues with Opera like the tab issue. I see it here in these forums and I see it in other forums. It is annoying as all crap.
    Last edited by ses5909; Jun 17, 2007 at 23:11. Reason: Removed certain comments
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  3. #53
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyssen View Post
    All I've done is point out the flaws in your line of argument.
    You are picking nits. My overall line of argument is sound, I'm just much more irritable than normal. I'm sick of people jumping on the accessibility and cheering how great Opera is for accessibility when it breaks the most basic part of accessibility, which is consistent keyboard behavior between applications. One can not claim superior accessibility and break the "standard" way of navigation that has been used in browsers since the beginning and is the standard way of navigating across applications. Proper tab key behavior doesn't need to be codefied in W3C accessibility standards because there is a generally accepted way the tab key is supposed to behave hand has behaved for "time eternal".

    Even when I program MS-Access databases, I go to great pains to make sure the tab order of forms is correct such that the tab key works correctly as users are accustom to it working. It also really ticked me off to have wasted four hours the other day trying to figure out why the tab was not working correctly in Opera on my site only to find it is because it is broken in Opera.

    I have gone to such great lengths for the past 12 years to make sure the tab key works logically on my site and it is really irritating to see Opera users dismiss the tab key issue in a thread about accessibility. It makes me wonder why I optimize my site for the Opera web browser on handhelds when only I only got handful of visits in the past month from Opera handhelds. Why should I really care?
    Last edited by KLB; Jun 17, 2007 at 23:49. Reason: Fixed grammer
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  4. #54
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    I would like EVERYONE to remember that RESPECT is key here and you need to please carry out your debates in a civil manner. Further violations of this will get this thread closed. Thanks.
    Sara

  5. #55
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Ken, such a rude post doesn't really deserve a reply, but I shall nevertheless write one. If you cannot use a civil language, as required in the forum guidelines, I will not bother to respond to any further posts from your, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    How can you say this??????
    I think you are confusing accessibility with usability.
    Can links be accessed via keyboard mechanisms in Opera? Yes, they can. Thus they are accessible.

    To someone who expects to be able to use the Tab key to navigate between links, there will be a usability issue. But that's not the same as an accessibility issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Tab navigation is one of the most basic and most important parts of accessibility.
    Keyboard navigation is. Not necessarily Tab navigation. Safari doesn't by default allow you to navigate by Tab, yet I don't see you accusing Apple for arrogant stupidity.

    There is nothing in the HTML spec that says you have to be able to navigate using the Tab key. Thus this is not a case of lack of standards compliance.

    Opera has chosen to limit Tab navigation to form controls by default, using A/Q to navigate to links, S/W to navigate to headings, D/E to navigate to any element. This is different from browsers like IE and Firefox, but it's a conscious choice designed to make Opera more useful. If there's a form on the page, you only have to hit Tab once to get to it, whereas in IE, Firefox and others you may have to press Tab dozens of times to get to the form, especially if the navigation precedes the main content.

    Opera has also chosen to use Shift+Esc to activate accesskeys, providing a list of available accesskeys along the way. This is also different from IE, Firefox and others, which use the Alt key (on Windows). Again, it's a conscious choice to avoid the conflicts with accelerator keys in the operating system – the very fact that has made accesskeys unusable because of the choice made by other browser vendors.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Wrong!!!!!!!

    Accessibility suffers anytime the software breaks the most intuitive/customary form of navigation.
    Again, you're confusing accessibility with usability. Accessibility means 'possible to access'. If you, as opposed to most Opera users, prefer to use the Tab key to navigate to all links and form controls, Opera gives you the choice to change that preference.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    STOP F****** DEFENDING OPERA ON THIS!!!!
    I don't defend the fact that the A/Q navigation sequence on some sites doesn't start from the top. I think that's annoying and that Opera should fix it. I don't see it as a major issue, since spatial navigation is available and a much better choice for keyboard navigation.

    I do defend Opera's and Apple's choice of using Tab only for navigating to form controls, though, because it actually increases usability. I can see how you may find it challenging if you use Firefox as your main browser. Anything that doesn't work as you're used to is a challenge. For me, I find it challenging that spatial navigation doesn't work when I run Firefox to test something. It feels unnecessarily annoying to me to have to hit Tab twenty times to get to a link that I could reach with a single Shift+arrow key press in Opera.

    And I must say that for someone who says that browser preferences shouldn't be religious, you surely display a lot of passion about this issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    You Opera fanboys always rail on web developers as being stupid/lazy because their sites don't work correctly in Opera and you are always the first to jump on the accessibility band wagon toting how great Opera is for accessibility.
    First of all, I'm not an Opera fanboy. I happen to prefer that browser, but I don't pretend it's perfect. I just think it is less imperfect than the other browsers I have tested.

    Yes, I'm annoyed at developers who make sites that don't work in Opera. The reason is that a standards-compliant site will work in Opera. Thus if a site doesn't work in Opera, it's because the developer has actively done something to sabotage standards compliance. I happen to believe in standards and think they're a pretty neat idea. Sue me.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Well guess what? Your precious browser broken the cardinal of accessibility.
    You keep saying that, yet you have not shown any proof that links are inaccessible with keyboard navigation in Opera. All you have shown is that you can't use the same key, by default, as in IE and Firefox. But Opera is neither IE nor Firefox.

    You have also shown that the starting point for the A/Q sequence on some sites seems to be random. On most sites I've tried, A/Q starts at the first link, but there are cases when it doesn't and that's a bug. However, the keyboard navigation order is still right, even if the starting point is sometimes off.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    I was seeing the standard "Opera knows best" attitude Opera lovers could not see past their blind love for Opera.
    As supposed to your blind hate of Opera, I suppose. Despite your protestations to the contrary, it seems to me that you do bear a grudge against Opera because of that issue with your advertisements a few years ago. You do not seem willing to accept that Opera's way of doing something slightly different from IE/Firefox can actually be an improvement for the users.

    The Opera Community Forum has more than twice as many members as SitePoint, yet I have never seen anyone complain about the keyboard navigation (other than recent converts from IE/Firefox, but they usually withdraw their complaints once they see the benefits of Opera's way of doing it).

    In other words, Opera users like the way Opera handles keyboard navigation. Your view on the world isn't the only legitimate one.


    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Rendering it useless.
    Not useless, but less useful. But that's neither here nor there since an Opera user would use spatial navigation anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Not intuitive. Someone has to point this functionality out. It isn't something someone is going to naturally try the way they will the tab key.
    I doubt that most non-techie users know that you can navigate with the Tab key in IE/Firefox. And I'm quite sure that most of those who do have been told by someone.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Go get a clue bat and beat yourself with it 100 times.
    How old are you again?

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Read very carefully. Breaking the most fundamental means of keyboard navigation negates any accessibility gains from other nifty means of keyboard navigation.
    Read this very carefully: as long as it's possible to navigate to any link or form control using only the keyboard, it is accessible. You are, again, confusing accessibility with usability. This is not an issue for an Opera user, only for someone like yourself who uses something else for their primary browser and is unwilling to learn about the features that Opera offer.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    As long as the tab key does not function the way it has always functioned in regards to keyboard navigation, then Opera's accessibility is incomplete and inferior to all other browsers.
    Usability. Not accessibility. And so is Safari's then. And Firefox/Mac. I just tried both of them, and guess what: pressing Tab will take you to the next form control. You can't navigate to links using the Tab key, unless you change the default browser settings.

    I don't see you dripping venom over those browsers, though. Only Opera. So forgive me if I take your remonstrations about not being an Opera hater with a largeish pinch of salt.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    For software on a computer to be truly accessible, they must all behave in a similar fashion such that users don't have to remember program specific navigation techniques.
    Why? It's a usability issue, at most. It has nothing to do with accessibility, as long as there is a method to achieve your goal.

    Most users on the web are not web developers. They don't use half a dozen different browsers. They use one single browser and they learn how it works. Opera tends to be popular mainly among 'advanced' users, who are surely capable of learning the intricacies of spatial navigation. Actually, holding down the Shift key and pressing the arrow key that points in the direction you want to go doesn't require all that much intelligence.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    The most basic form of navigation is the tab key. Opera breaks this and does something different. This ruins its overall accessibility.
    Will you stop the FUD, please! It is not an accessibility issue. It is a usability issue for those who are accustomed to the way IE/Firefox do it. Nothing more.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    The fact of the matter is that Opera has a serious accessibility issue that needs to be fixed. To deny this is to be an apologist for Opera.
    There is no accessibility issue, unless you can prove that it is impossible for Opera users to navigate your site by keyboard. It's not even an accessibility issue with Safari, because you can enable Tab navigation if you want or need it. It's just not enabled by default.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    To rail about "standards" and accessibility and then to excuse the tab issue as trivial is hypocritical at best.
    Until you point out the W3C specification that says a browser has to use the Tab key for keyboard navigation, I'll file your rant under 'anti Opera'.
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  6. #56
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    I'm not sure whose arguments this cater, but here goes:
    Quote Originally Posted by [url=http://www.w3.org/WAI/wcag-curric/sam73-0.htm]WCAG 9.4[/url]
    In browsers that have enabled the Tab key to navigate between links and form controls, the default tabbing order starts with the first link or control on the page, and then jumps to each subsequent link or control in the order it appears in the HTML markup for the page.
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  7. #57
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    I'm not sure whose arguments this cater, but here goes:
    Excellent. It should be noted that tab navigation is such a basic form of navigation, that even my system bios uses it. It is such an ubiquitous form of navigation, that I'm in absolute disbelief that Opera doesn't support it properly given how much Opera is about accessibility and usability.

    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    Ken, such a rude post doesn't really deserve a reply, but I shall nevertheless write one.
    Don't go preaching to me about civility. Your slander against me and accusing me of being anti-Opera is what ticked me off in the first place. Anyone who believes I'm anti-Opera has a very selective memory.

    I'm a harsh critic of software that does not function the way it should and while I expect a lot of stupid stuff from MSIE, I hold Opera and Firefox to a much higher standard, because I believe them to be so much more superior of browsers. My criticisms of these browsers aren't because I hate them, but rather because I don't think they can be made better if we aren't honest about their faults. Unfortunately Opera fanboys seem to have their identities so wrapped up in the "superiority" of Opera that they look at any criticisms of Opera as a personal attack on them by Opera haters and thus gang up and lash out against anyone who dare criticize Opera.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    I think you are confusing accessibility with usability. Can links be accessed via keyboard mechanisms in Opera? Yes, they can. Thus they are accessible.
    There is very little difference between usability and accessibility. For something to be fully accessible it also needs to have a high level of usability. We would not consider a store that put the wheelchair ramp at one end of the parking lot and the handicap parking at the other end. Because the handicap person could still technically access the store, by the definition you are trying to get us to use, the store is still accessible, but it is hardly usable.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    To someone who expects to be able to use the Tab key to navigate between links, there will be a usability issue. But that's not the same as an accessibility issue.
    They are one in the same in this instance. Accessibility isn't only about providing alternative means of navigation, it is also about providing that alternative means in a way that the disabled user expects and in this case the web developer can depend upon. In this case that means the tab key needs to preform its usual and customary function.


    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    Keyboard navigation is. Not necessarily Tab navigation. Safari doesn't by default allow you to navigate by Tab, yet I don't see you accusing Apple for arrogant stupidity.
    I haven't yet played around with Safari in this much detail because I'm having other problems with it. I do not know what is usual and customary for keyboard navigation on a Mac, but in a Windows environment Safari needs to support the tab key properly. With that said, from what you tell me, at least one can turn on proper tab navigation reasonably easily something you can not do in Opera.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    There is nothing in the HTML spec that says you have to be able to navigate using the Tab key. Thus this is not a case of lack of standards compliance.
    It shouldn't need to but obviously it does. Not all "standards" need to be written down. This is no different than the letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law. The letter of the "law" is that there be an alternative keyboard navigation. The spirit of the "law" would be that that the alternative keyboard navigation method include the tab key functioning in the way it has functioned for "time eternal".

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    Opera has chosen to limit Tab navigation to form controls by default, using A/Q to navigate to links, S/W to navigate to headings, D/E to navigate to any element.
    It is a bad decision especially considering the A/Q navigation doesn't work correctly. If A/Q worked correctly that would be a mitigating factor.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    This is different from browsers like IE and Firefox, but it's a conscious choice designed to make Opera more useful. If there's a form on the page, you only have to hit Tab once to get to it, whereas in IE, Firefox and others you may have to press Tab dozens of times to get to the form, especially if the navigation precedes the main content.
    This is where the arrogance or at least short sightedness comes into play. Why retask a traditional navigation key and then give new keys the traditional function, when the new keys could have been so easily given the new function? Sometimes changing things isn't better and in this case changing the functionality of the tab key makes Opera less intuitive because one then has to seek out the new way of doing things. Opera's changing the functionality of the tab key is no different than deciding to swap the clutch and break peddle.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    Opera has also chosen to use Shift+Esc to activate accesskeys, providing a list of available accesskeys along the way. This is also different from IE, Firefox and others, which use the Alt key (on Windows). Again, it's a conscious choice to avoid the conflicts with accelerator keys in the operating system the very fact that has made accesskeys unusable because of the choice made by other browser vendors.
    One of the most important things in the usability and accessibility of a computer is for all software to behave in a predictable fashion. Certain things need to behave in a certain fashion because this is what people have been conditioned to expect. The tab key normally behaves in a certain way across various software packages and it is this consistency which not only makes the computer more usable, but more accessible. In a car it really does not matter where the gas peddle is, but it had better be in a consistent place across all cars.

    Access keys are an example of failed usability and accessibility, because not only do they not work the same across browsers, but they don't even work the same way across different websites. I not implement them because of this. We see a very similar problem with implementing the access key equivalent in Microsoft Access databases. These keyboard shortcuts can become very cumbersome if not used in moderation.

    Common keyboard shortcuts for webpages would be a great idea, but this needs to be deployed in a consistent manner and tied to something like rel= attributes. For instance one key combination to navigate to index pages, another key combination for the contact page. etc. This, however, MUST be consistent across all browsers and all websites that choose to implement it.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    Again, you're confusing accessibility with usability. Accessibility means 'possible to access'. If you, as opposed to most Opera users, prefer to use the Tab key to navigate to all links and form controls, Opera gives you the choice to change that preference.
    I'll simply refer back to my wheelchair ramp example. Nobody would look at such a set up as being accessible because the accessibility features are too inconvenient. Opera and the tab issue is exactly the same thing. Again part of accessibility is doing things in a consistent fashion and this means tasking the tab key to preform in the same way it has always preformed and still preforms across most applications. One should not be forced to learn different customs from one software application to the next.


    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    I don't defend the fact that the A/Q navigation sequence on some sites doesn't start from the top. I think that's annoying and that Opera should fix it. I don't see it as a major issue, since spatial navigation is available and a much better choice for keyboard navigation.
    Again these new navigation techniques are not customary and thus have to be learned, which means they are less usable than existing means. If the shift/arrow method was combined with the traditional tab key navigation there would be no usability or accessibility issues and I would agree that Opera was superior to other browsers, however, Opera choose to break the tab key.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    I do defend Opera's and Apple's choice of using Tab only for navigating to form controls, though, because it actually increases usability.
    Wrong, it does not increase usability because it forces people to learn a new way of doing something that is customarily done a specific way. Again, keyboard navigation needs to be homogeneous across applications. If Opera wanted to provide a new key combination to quickly access forms, they should have assigned an unassigned key (e.g. Shift+F) to get to the forms. They should not have broken existing conventions of navigation to create a new convention of navigation.


    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    I can see how you may find it challenging if you use Firefox as your main browser. Anything that doesn't work as you're used to is a challenge.
    This is the patronizing attitude that torked me off in the first place. It is arrogant and uncalled for, especially from an adviser.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    For me, I find it challenging that spatial navigation doesn't work when I run Firefox to test something. It feels unnecessarily annoying to me to have to hit Tab twenty times to get to a link that I could reach with a single Shift+arrow key press in Opera.
    And I have not ever stated that the spacial keyboard navigation should be eliminated. I have simply stated that Opera should not have eliminated the normal way the tab key functions. Spacial navigation has some serious merit, but the consistency of ALSO sticking with normal conventions of tab navigation has merit.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    And I must say that for someone who says that browser preferences shouldn't be religious, you surely display a lot of passion about this issue.
    Again you are being patronizing. This isn't about browser preference, this is about consistency throughout all software programs to further the objectives of accessibility. Opera could have still had their nifty spacial navigation and quick access keys to forums without breaking the normal way the tab key functions. Firefox/MSIE did not invent the customary behavior of the tab key. They simply carried on a tradition to help ensure consistency and therefore usability/accessibility.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    Yes, I'm annoyed at developers who make sites that don't work in Opera. The reason is that a standards-compliant site will work in Opera.
    My site is an example of a standards compliant site that has two functional problems with Opera. The first is that keyboard navigation is broken because the traditional convention of the tab key has been broken and the Q/A replacement dumps the user in really stupid and inconsistent places. I can't even begin to accommodate this bad behavior (I tried). The spacial navigation is nifty, but the traditional tab order would allow users to navigate through my links in their order of "importance" with a link to the site directory being the first link. The tab key just gets caught up in detritus on my navigation menu.

    The second failure of Opera on my site is a cosmetic issue dealing with phantom borders on tables. A perfect example of this is my periodic table of elements. The phantom borders don't always appear in Opera, but they do appear quite frequently and I have seen them on my other tables as well. It should be noted that the page in question as is the rest of my site (except for my blog due to Blogger issues) validates to W3C HTML4.01 Strict and CSS specifications. So yes, the problem is with Opera and it can be replicated.


    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    Thus if a site doesn't work in Opera, it's because the developer has actively done something to sabotage standards compliance. I happen to believe in standards and think they're a pretty neat idea. Sue me.
    I have just disproved this. It is arrogant to always blame the developer for things that don't work in Opera. Sometimes, but not often, it is Opera's fault. If for no other reason than the specifications left too much room for interpretation (e.g. the tab issue) and Opera Software decided to do things differently from everyone else.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    All you have shown is that you can't use the same key, by default, as in IE and Firefox. But Opera is neither IE nor Firefox.
    Opera is a Windows application and on Windows it needs to follow Windows conventions in things like this. From a convention standpoint it is a heck of a lot more logical to say "tab through the links" than to say "use the 'q' or 'a' keys to navigate through the links."

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    You have also shown that the starting point for the A/Q sequence on some sites seems to be random. On most sites I've tried, A/Q starts at the first link, but there are cases when it doesn't and that's a bug. However, the keyboard navigation order is still right, even if the starting point is sometimes off.
    And on a page with scores of links this can be down right inconvenient.


    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    As supposed to your blind hate of Opera, I suppose.
    This is you being arrogant and patronizing again and it is what has been ticking me off so much about you. I can be extremely pragmatic about issues and anyone who has been around here since I first joined knows this. Even when I waged my protest against Opera Software's business model, I gave credit where credit was due in regards to the quality of their product. To me the quality of Opera the browser and the behavior of Opera Software the company were two separate issues. I really liked Opera the browser and I did not come to the decision to protest against Opera Software the company's business practices lightly. I did what I needed to do because I saw the big picture and the slippery slope that Opera Software's business practices could lead to on the web in general.

    To label me anti-Opera or an Opera hater is a slanderous lie and personal attack. It must stop right here and right now. You are an adviser and as such should hold yourself to higher standards than stooping to personal attacks. I might tolerate this from a regular member, but I should not have to tolerate this from an adviser. That is another reason I'm so ticked off at you.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    In other words, Opera users like the way Opera handles keyboard navigation. Your view on the world isn't the only legitimate one.
    Attitudes like this is the reason Opera has always remained a fringe browser. I'd love to see Opera gain a greater market share at the expense of MSIE as it would put more pressure on web developers to write cleaner code. However, Opera will NEVER gain market share unless it conforms to standard conventions on the basics and stops being so hard headed about the Opera way being the right way. The vast majority of users don't care about the finer points of the Opera theory about the way things are done. They just want a browser to behave like they expect it to behave and they want it to render pages correctly as in the way the developer intended.

    This is why Firefox became so successful so quickly while Opera has languished. Mozilla developers were smart enough to embrace the things users expected out of a browser and have taken a more pragmatic approach towards web standards. Look I personally wish all websites validated to W3C's HTML & CSS specifications and took more seriously the accessibility guidelines, but this isn't reality. There has to be a bridge between the way the web is and the way we want it to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    I doubt that most non-techie users know that you can navigate with the Tab key in IE/Firefox.
    They might not think about it, but given the fact of how ubiquitous tab key navigation is if their mouse was unusable, I'm sure it would be the first thing they would try without being told. Again this is about standard conventions of behavior.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    How old are you again?
    And they let you be an adviser. I'd expect more.



    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    Read this very carefully: as long as it's possible to navigate to any link or form control using only the keyboard, it is accessible. You are, again, confusing accessibility with usability.
    No I'm not confusing anything. the problem is you are so firmly tied to your beliefs of all things Opera being correct that you can not see the bigger picture. Just like my wheelchair ramp and gas peddle examples. There are some things with keyboard navigation that MUST be consistent across all applications. In this case it would seem that Opera decided to be different just for the sake of being different and now the Opera fanboys are trying to preach that Opera's way is superior.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    This is not an issue for an Opera user, only for someone like yourself who uses something else for their primary browser and is unwilling to learn about the features that Opera offer.
    Again being patronizing. A classic hallmark of a fanboy and totally unbecoming of an adviser.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    I don't see you dripping venom over those browsers, though. Only Opera. So forgive me if I take your remonstrations about not being an Opera hater with a largeish pinch of salt.
    I do not drip venom about any browser, nor do I go around preaching about one browser being so far superior to all other browsers. I do, however, criticize things browsers do wrong (e.g. MSIE's poor support of CSS specifications). If you actually dig through my threads you will see that when I provide web development advice I almost always recommend people develop their sites to W3C specifications using Firefox and its Webdeveloper extension, and then test their site using Opera because it is the best browser for turning up bad coding issues. It is only after a site validates to W3C specifications and works correctly on Firefox and Opera that I recommend fixing the remaining MSIE issues using alternative CSS instructions for the offending version of MSIE.

    The fact that you ignore my general trend of recommending the use of Opera for web development purposes shows just how selective your memory is.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    Most users on the web are not web developers. They don't use half a dozen different browsers. They use one single browser and they learn how it works. Opera tends to be popular mainly among 'advanced' users, who are surely capable of learning the intricacies of spatial navigation.
    Actually Opera isn't "popular" by any stretch of the imagination. It only has a 0.6% market share at most and this hasn't changed in four years. Do Opera users tend to be "advanced" users. This is probably true. This isn't because advanced users appreciate Opera's features, but rather regular users and most advanced users do not like the way Opera behaves. If I were wrong about this Opera would have a much larger market share. Opera has some really "advanced" navigation tricks, but this comes at the expense of a steeper learning curve then most users are willing to put up with. Opera needs to keep the basic conventions (like tabbing) to appease normal user expectations long enough to get them to be willing to use Opera long enough to learn the more advanced stuff that makes using Opera so special.


    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    Will you stop the FUD, please! It is not an accessibility issue. It is a usability issue for those who are accustomed to the way IE/Firefox do it. Nothing more.
    Just because you don't agree with something does not make it FUD. If I've said a dozen times in this post, I'll say it again there are points where accessibility and usability are the same thing. The tab issue is such an example.
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    Cha, Cha, Cha!!! Gamermk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    First, you are able to 'tab' through links using A/Q. The only quirk is that the sequence sometimes doesn't start at the first link.
    Secondly, there is a better way for keyboard navigation, viz., spatial navigation. That makes keyboard navigation more accessible in Opera than in other browsers.
    Thus, there is no real accessibility issue with keyboard navigation in Opera.
    Stating otherwise is spreading FUD.
    I don't pledge blind allegiance to Opera, but I think it deserves fair treatment.
    This reminds me a lot of an article I read once on how we should use Navigation along the Right side of the page. The author's reasoning was fairly sound, but he admitted that ultimately the already existing standards was better practice even if it wasn't necessarily better functionality.

    Regardless, you guys have to realize how comical this thread is to read with both of you squabbling about usability when one of you supports unconventional tabular navigation and the other supports use of drop downs. I can't wait for Jakob Nielsen to pipe in and smite you both
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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Umm... Gamermk,

    If you bothered to take a look at my site and if you knew its history, you would realize that my drop down menus are not critical to navigation. Neither is JavaScript.

    My drop down menus are a recent ADDITION to the navigation methods for my site to ADD another form of navigation for those users who can support it. ALL of my standard menus that have been a part of my site for almost twelve years are still part of my site. Simply put, I added a "tab bar" with drop down menus across the top of my page after many suggestions for this feature and a desire to provide EXTRA navigation options for my site. Even at that, each of the tab buttons on that bar link to a relevant menu page with the exception of the "syndication" tab.

    Just because drop down menus themselves are not accessible doesn't mean they can't be used. There just has to be an easy to use fail safe alternative. In the case of my site, if you are using a keyboard you wouldn't even know you were missing something because the direct links to menu pages from the tab buttons replaces the lost drop down functionality. If you don't support JavaScript, you simply see my site the way it used to be sans the drop down menu.

    Why should one deny all users a specific form of functionality just because some users can't support it? We might as well go back to plain text unstyled webpages. How boring would that be?

    Speaking of drop down menus, this is one spot where it would be really nice if the specs would come up with a keyboard equivalent of the "hover" pseudo class and the JavaScript onmouseover event. I'd love to be able to make my dropdown menu properly function from the keyboard with just a few CSS instructions.
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    I didn't expect to open such a can of worms! (so to speak) I wish that some of the web designers I know had such an interest in this subject.
    I for one am really interested in all aspect (ok so I'm an ex-optician, but I doesn't mean I only think of visual problems)
    The one thing I have learnt in recent years is that you should never rely totally on IE ( it sucks ) I test all my sites on Firefox, Opera, Netscape and Lynx, that is before I ask friends to have a look at it.
    I've taken on board what some of you have said, but I would hate it if we could never allow design to be an integral part of our work.

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    First of all, I'd like to offer a public apology to Ken for unfairly labelling him as an Opera hater. I misinterpreted his intentions and made it look like he's something which he is not. Mea culpa.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    There is very little difference between usability and accessibility. For something to be fully accessible it also needs to have a high level of usability.
    I disagree, and I thing you've got your argument backwards. A site must be accessible to be usable, but accessibility in itself doesn't mean it has good usability.

    Accessible simply means 'possible to access', although some advocates mean that it means 'possible to access for someone with a disability'. Just because you can access something doesn't make it usable.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    We would not consider a store that put the wheelchair ramp at one end of the parking lot and the handicap parking at the other end.
    No. That would technically be accessible, but it would be very poor usability.
    The A and Q keys are less than half an inch from the Tab key, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    I do not know what is usual and customary for keyboard navigation on a Mac, but in a Windows environment Safari needs to support the tab key properly.
    It does, but not by default.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    With that said, from what you tell me, at least one can turn on proper tab navigation reasonably easily something you can not do in Opera.
    It's a bit more convoluted in Opera, but it's still doable.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Not all "standards" need to be written down.
    Again I disagree. You cannot test and measure something that is not clearly specified. You cannot claim that something fails if there's nothing to say that it must be done or how.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    It is a bad decision especially considering the A/Q navigation doesn't work correctly. If A/Q worked correctly that would be a mitigating factor.
    Please note that this starting point problem only occurs on some sites, though. And the tab order is still correct, apart from the random starting point. I think A/Q navigation is somehow tied into spatial navigation and that's why Opera can sometimes get confused.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Why retask a traditional navigation key and then give new keys the traditional function
    But Tab navigation isn't quite as universal as you claim. In most software applications (at least on Windows and *nix platforms) it can only be used for navigating between user input elements (text fields, lists, buttons, etc.). And that's exactly what you can do with it in Opera's default configuration.

    Can you navigate between hypertext links in MS Word with the Tab key? How about Excel?

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    changing the functionality of the tab key makes Opera less intuitive because one then has to seek out the new way of doing things. Opera's changing the functionality of the tab key is no different than deciding to swap the clutch and break peddle.
    It may be less intuitive if you are used to another browser that only provides primitive keyboard navigation via the Tab key. And I'd like to offer an alternate analogy: Opera's functionality is like having the driver's seat on the right-hand side of the car. That's what you'd expect in, e.g., the UK or Australia, but it would be unfamiliar for someone from the US or from Sweden. One is not necessarily better than the other; they're just different.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    The tab key normally behaves in a certain way across various software packages and it is this consistency which not only makes the computer more usable, but more accessible.
    Yes, the Tab key navigates between user input controls. Unless keyboard navigation is impossible, you cannot seriously claim that it is inaccessible.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    In a car it really does not matter where the gas peddle is, but it had better be in a consistent place across all cars.
    You wouldn't sell many cars in the UK if you put the gas pedal where an American driver expects to find it.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    One should not be forced to learn different customs from one software application to the next.
    I repeat what I said earlier: I doubt that most web users switch between several different browsers.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Wrong, it does not increase usability because it forces people to learn a new way of doing something that is customarily done a specific way.
    It's a learning curve, sure. Opera is an acquired taste; you need to use if for a period of time to really appreciate it. It's a complex piece of software with lots of features, so it's not entirely unexpected that it takes some time to master it. That's is probably one of the things that deter many people from using Opera, and I acknowledge that it's an issue.

    Consider, though, how all those Opera 'fanboys' you detest so much are vociferously defending the object of their desire. Don't you think that means that Opera might be on to something? It may be a bit more challenging to learn, but their users seem to appreciate the features once they've learned them.

    It's a bit like Vim vs Notepad. Vim is far harder to get used to, but once you do it's much more usable and powerful than Notepad. (Please, everyone, do not let this thread deteriorate into an editor war! )

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Again, keyboard navigation needs to be homogeneous across applications.
    That would mean that we'd always have to accommodate the lowest common denominator. It wouldn't leave any room for improvement.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    This is the patronizing attitude that torked me off in the first place. It is arrogant and uncalled for, especially from an adviser.
    No, you misunderstand me. I didn't mean 'you' as in 'you, Ken'. I meant it as in 'somebody'; a generic pronoun. I mean that a person who is used to a certain method may find it challenging to switch to another application that uses a different method. It wasn't personal.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    My site is an example of a standards compliant site that has two functional problems with Opera.
    Opera isn't bug free. I'm not saying that. (Neither is any other application that I know of.)

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    I have just disproved this. It is arrogant to always blame the developer for things that don't work in Opera. Sometimes, but not often, it is Opera's fault. If for no other reason than the specifications left too much room for interpretation (e.g. the tab issue) and Opera Software decided to do things differently from everyone else.
    Agreed, and I don't claim that it's always the developer's fault. But I'm willing to bet that in 99% of the cases where a site doesn't work in Opera, it's because of errors in the code. Many sites deliberately send incorrect code to Opera, as you know. They consider it a fringe browser that it's not worth testing in.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Opera is a Windows application
    No, and that's probably part of the problem. Opera is an application that runs on many different platforms. They probably decided to use the same shortcut keys regardless of the platform, which I personally is happy about. I use Opera on Linux at home and Opera on Windows XP at the office, and I'm very glad that I don't have to learn two sets of shortcut keys.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    This is you being arrogant and patronizing again and it is what has been ticking me off so much about you.
    I'm sorry about that. I didn't appreciate being labelled an Opera fanboy either, but that's no reason to respond in kind.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    To label me anti-Opera or an Opera hater is a slanderous lie and personal attack. It must stop right here and right now. You are an adviser and as such should hold yourself to higher standards than stooping to personal attacks. I might tolerate this from a regular member, but I should not have to tolerate this from an adviser. That is another reason I'm so ticked off at you.
    I promise not to do it again and offer my sincere apologies. And I'm not being facetious; I'm serious.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    No I'm not confusing anything. the problem is you are so firmly tied to your beliefs of all things Opera being correct that you can not see the bigger picture.
    I don't thing Opera is always correct. There are bugs and there are certain solutions that are less than perfect.

    But I still maintain that you're confusing accessibility and usability. Both are important, but accessibility is crucial.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    In this case it would seem that Opera decided to be different just for the sake of being different and now the Opera fanboys are trying to preach that Opera's way is superior.
    I don't think that's why Opera chose to implement things they way they did. I'm quite sure they believed that their solution was better, and I happen to agree in this case.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Again being patronizing. A classic hallmark of a fanboy and totally unbecoming of an adviser.
    I can see how that could be taken as patronising, and I'm sorry. I promise that it wasn't meant to be. I meant that you are used to Firefox and the way it does things, and therefore you might find Opera less usable because you have to do things differently. But for those of us who use Opera as our main browser, it's the other way round.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Actually Opera isn't "popular" by any stretch of the imagination.
    That's not how I meant it. I mean that most of those who do like Opera seem to be 'advanced' users. I didn't mean that most 'advanced' users like Opera.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Just because you don't agree with something does not make it FUD.
    That's true, but you have been saying something that is factually and objectively incorrect. You have said that Opera is less accessible because it doesn't use Tab for link navigation by default. That is incorrect, since links are accessible to keyboard users.
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    Cha, Cha, Cha!!! Gamermk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    My drop down menus are a recent ADDITION to the navigation methods for my site to ADD another form of navigation for those users who can support it.
    I find such additions result in users trying to use the dropdowns, failing and becoming frustrated. The reality is that sometimes you have to save users from themselves.

    I'm not denying that conventional dropdowns have their uses, but based on the testing and research I've done, website navigation is one place where they hinder more than they help.

    But eh, you always have the option to test it and prove me or yourself wrong.
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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamermk View Post
    I find such additions result in users trying to use the dropdowns, failing and becoming frustrated. The reality is that sometimes you have to save users from themselves.

    I'm not denying that conventional dropdowns have their uses, but based on the testing and research I've done, website navigation is one place where they hinder more than they help.
    Well for starters there are about three or four layers of website navigation on my site so there are plenty of ways for people to choose their preferred method. Also some navigation methods are turned off or on depending the user's situation. For instance there is an inner page navigation that is only displayed to handheld users and those who do not support CSS. The drop down menu is only displayed to users on "normal" browsers who support JavaScript.

    The navigation methods on my site include:

    1) Two links (one at the top and one at the bottom of every page) to the main "index" page, which serves as a basic site map.

    2) Links to the major section indexes.

    3) Drop down menu to almost all of the key pages. This is a JavaScript embedded menu that is stored in a separate JavaScript file. It contains 400 - 600 links (guesstimate) but only requires 10 kb of bandwidth to transmit.

    4) Sidebar menu this is a mostly static HTML menu that contains links to most articles and key sections. The only "dynamic" section of this side menu is the careers section which is preset by PHP to only display the career listings for the country the user is in or closest to via geo targeting. Using geo targeting allows me to collapse career links for countries the user is unlikely to be interested in. If users support JavaScript they can manually expand the list of careers links for the country they are interested in. This dynamic careers menu is keyboard safe (I tested it).

    If the user is on a handheld device they do not get the drop down menu, the sidebar menu is moved to beneath the main content area and extra in page navigation links are added to the page to ease in page navigation.

    Users who do not support either JavaScript or CSS also do not see the dropdown menu but do get the extra in page navigation links.

    Quite literally you could probably surf my website using Netscape 3 if you had to and I know for certain you could use text only browsers like Lynx. A great deal of care and planning went into my total site navigation, which required a lot of thinking because there are an estimated 1,000,000 plus internal links and nearly 20,000 pages. The whole goal was to get someone from any page to any page with as few of clicks as possible and the drop down menu can be of great assistance in this.

    The drop down menu and horizontal tab bar, they really were the most suggested navigational/design feature that people thought was missing from my site. I had thought about adding it for years before finally getting around to it. I had a lot of design requirements for the menu, not the least of which was that it had to be cross browser compatible and couldn't add much to the loading time of my pages or clutter up my HTML source.

    The menu has been tested and works correctly on MSIE 5.5 - 7.0, Firefox 1.0 - 2.0, Opera 7.5 - 9.0 and Safari 2 and 3. The menu is housed in an external PHP generated Javascript file that is optimized for size and compressed during download via gzip. The total download requirement for the menu is only 10kb so it has almost no impact on download times. Since the file also only gets downloaded once per session its impact on users who use multiple pages of my site is non-existent after the first page. The rendered HTML code does validate to HTML4.01 Strict specifications (this was tricky to test).

    Personally I mostly only use the "Editors' Blog" drop down of the menu, but I don't really have much need to visit much of my own site on a regular basis. The overall feedback I have gotten on it has been positive. My mother also seems to be able to use the menu just fine, which is one of my usability acid tests. Probably the "Careers" drop down menu is the most powerful of the menus.

    While it is generated by JavaScript, only MSIE uses onmouseover events to activate the sub-menus. All other browsers use the "hover" pseudo-class.
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    Cha, Cha, Cha!!! Gamermk's Avatar
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    I'm not denying that its possible to make them accessible and you've certainly taken great strides to do so which is commendable, but the testing I refer to is usability testing.

    In other words, how does the average joe who just came to your site use it? Is he worrying more about interacting with the navigation than he is about actually reading the words on the navigation?

    I won't deny that under ideal conditions dropdowns can certainly aid the expert user, but I'll always feel the tradeoff is at the cost of a stronger new user experience.
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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamermk View Post
    I'm not denying that its possible to make them accessible and you've certainly taken great strides to do so which is commendable, but the testing I refer to is usability testing.
    Does the average user use it? Probably not, but that doesn't matter much. It doesn't clutter things up that much because it only requires a small vertical area and it adds other visual clues about what the site contains. I actually expect users to more frequently click directly on the tab links and go to those index pages. A more important question is whether or not more navigation options increase the number of pages people visit overall. If I grab a few users in a hundred because of the menu that is great.

    The most important thing I've learned in twelve years of doing this is that it is one must give people lots of navigation options, because everyone looks for or responds to different things. Getting just a few percent more users to look at more pages on my site can have a tremendous impact on my traffic levels.

    Because drop down menus are hidden and out of the way unless someone activates them they don't harm the usability of a site, as long as there are other navigation options, because they are out of the way. They are more of a "hidden" extra feature that the occasional user will appreciate and the normal user won't be affected by. The tab look of each of the primary menu items also gives a visual clue that users can click on the tabs to access the respective sections of the site. In my case the bandwidth requirements of my pages is very light and the drop down menu loads quickly, so even on slow dialup connections the menu has only minor impact on page loading times and my pages still load faster than the average site.

    One side benefit to drop down menus is that they can draw the user's attention if they get inadvertently activated by moving the cursor across them.

    Basically, don't mistake lack of use as equating a usability issue unless they are the only navigation method. Some users will appreciate them, others won't care. Where drop down menus become a usability problem is when they add too much bloat to pages, don't work reliably across different browsers and/or they are the only means of reasonable navigation.
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    Cha, Cha, Cha!!! Gamermk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Because drop down menus are hidden and out of the way unless someone activates them they don't harm the usability of a site, as long as there are other navigation options, because they are out of the way.
    It's your primary navigation. It will be activated and then they do become harmful because people try to use them. And when they fail it's true some will just click on the tab, but some will also leave out of frustration.

    Don't believe me they will fail?

    Try going:
    HazMat > Regulations > Resources > USDOT HazMat Transportation Placards > Then pick any Class/Division

    Try that on a laptop...

    And while I'll admit I picked the worst case (heck you can't even click on Class/Division) that doesn't change that using dropdowns isn't easy. I think you'll agree with me that people want everything to be easy on the web.

    That being said...
    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    The most important thing I've learned in twelve years of doing this is that it is one must give people lots of navigation options, because everyone looks for or responds to different things.
    This was definitely excellent food for thought. Thank you.
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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamermk View Post
    It's your primary navigation.
    Prior to last winter the drop down menu did not exist the only navigation was the top and bottom links to the main index page, the sidebar links and the bottom links. The top menu is an additional navigation system to the others so no it isn't really the primary menu, just another alternative.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamermk View Post
    It will be activated and then they do become harmful because people try to use them. And when they fail it's true some will just click on the tab, but some will also leave out of frustration.
    I'm not finding this to be true I have been using to top menu for just over six months now and in general traffic is up 20% over last year. I can't attribute the traffic increase to one thing, but it is up. Also the careers links on the menu have been really important. I've been able to drive a very steady stream of traffic to my career pages, which are an important source of income.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gamermk View Post
    Don't believe me they will fail?

    Try going:
    HazMat > Regulations > Resources > USDOT HazMat Transportation Placards > Then pick any Class/Division

    Try that on a laptop...

    And while I'll admit I picked the worst case (heck you can't even click on Class/Division) that doesn't change that using dropdowns isn't easy.
    I only use a laptop with touchpad and a screen resolution of 1280x1024. I also have an extremely twitchy touch pad that moves at about three to four times faster and further than the normal touch pad (almost no one can use my touch pad but me). As such I'm very familiar with how the menu behaves with a touch pad.

    As you pointed out, the class/division sub-menu is the hardest to get to using a twitchy touch pad. The hazmat menu is a very deeply nested menu section without enough items per menu level. This can cause the dropping of that menu sometimes with a touch pad (just as a Windows application menu does). I have not found the dropping of sub-menus to be an issue on the other menus because they are more flushed out. As I add more content to the hazmat section of the site the menu behavior will improve. Basically that section was designed with future growth in mind.

    The "class/division" item isn't supposed to be clickable, it is only the title for that sub-menu. I did decide to remove the "class/division" title. I also adjusted the width of the sub-menus. Adjusting the width seems to have addressed the twitchy touch-pad issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamermk View Post
    I think you'll agree with me that people want everything to be easy on the web.

    That being said...
    Only on the web??? Seriously though, I know this all too well, this is why I provide so many navigation methods. Basically there is a method for everyone. This is also why I'm always working on refining all navigation methods when I get a better idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamermk View Post
    This was definitely excellent food for thought. Thank you.
    And thank you for your input. I think it helped me address the biggest problem area with my drop down menu.
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  18. #68
    SitePoint Addict Trent Reimer's Avatar
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    chicken and egg

    ...I doubt any visually impaired users visit my site...

    ...will accessibility be profitable?
    An example I have used before is that in the old days you didn't see a lot of people in wheelchairs when you went shopping. So what was the incentive to be wheelchair accessible? Of course most stores had steps back then as well as doors which were often too narrow for wheelchairs. So what was the point of going shopping in a wheelchair?

    It took government to step in and point out that people with disabilities had a right to join the general population and the stores would have to suck it up and make their buildings accessible.

    Now you certainly do see people in wheelchairs out shopping with the rest of their fellow citizens. For most stores the number of shoppers who use wheelchairs continues to be a minority so the issue is more pertinently one of human rights rather than strictly a business case. But as for the business case, money is money, whether it comes from someone sitting down or standing up and having a few extra customers does not hurt.

    The same can be said for the internet. It can be a fairly hostile environment to people with impairments. We need to kickstart the accessibility thing until it is mainstream. Then it will be worthwhile for more people to participate. This is one of the reasons I appreciate SitePoint which is a great resource for a higher caliber of web development.

    There are natural exceptions to the need for some kinds of accessibility. For example a site which sells landscape paintings may not feel a need to be accessible to the visually impaired.

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    Well said, Trent!

    And, of course, not only the minority with wheelchairs benefit from those ramps. Parents pushing a pram probably appreciate them as well, as do elderly citizens using Zimmer frames.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

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    For those who were wondering about business benefits of accessibility, there are some nice statistics from the Legal and General on the benefits they tracked after a re-design with accessibility in mind:

    ● Increase traffic by 40&#37;
    ● Double conversion rates
    ● Double online revenue
    ● Pay for itself in 5 months

    Source, Mike Davies' Presentation.

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Somehow I did not see the following quoted post until just now. It must have been caused by how quickly SP has set vB to mark threads as read. I won't touch on all comments simply because it is so long.

    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    First of all, I'd like to offer a public apology to Ken for unfairly labelling him as an Opera hater. I misinterpreted his intentions and made it look like he's something which he is not. Mea culpa.
    Thanks.



    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    A site must be accessible to be usable, but accessibility in itself doesn't mean it has good usability.

    Accessible simply means 'possible to access', although some advocates mean that it means 'possible to access for someone with a disability'. Just because you can access something doesn't make it usable.
    I can see your point. I guess I take a much more narrow view of this and think that accessibility and usability need to be closely tied to each other.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    No. That would technically be accessible, but it would be very poor usability.
    The A and Q keys are less than half an inch from the Tab key, though.
    Assuming A/Q worked correctly and was well documented such that Opera users were highly likely to know about it, I could see it being a good alternative.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    Again I disagree. You cannot test and measure something that is not clearly specified. You cannot claim that something fails if there's nothing to say that it must be done or how.
    This can be taken to a ludicrous extreme. Sometimes a certain way of doing things is so common it never occurs to anyone to right it down in a "standard". Before changing the behavior of something that is not explicitly specified one must look at what is customary. If the browsers used by 99.4% of users use the tab key to navigate links (Safari did not exist at that time), then this behavior probably shouldn't be changed.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    Please note that this starting point problem only occurs on some sites, though. And the tab order is still correct, apart from the random starting point. I think A/Q navigation is somehow tied into spatial navigation and that's why Opera can sometimes get confused.
    I just find it peculiar, that even though I have gone to great lengths to adhere very tightly to both the letter and spirit of W3C specs and guidelines and to try and follow best design practices, my site has triggered two Opera bugs, one which severely harms keyboard navigation and the other which causes annoying cosmetic problems. To make matters worse, I can not find work a rounds for either problem.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    But Tab navigation isn't quite as universal as you claim. In most software applications (at least on Windows and *nix platforms) it can only be used for navigating between user input elements (text fields, lists, buttons, etc.). And that's exactly what you can do with it in Opera's default configuration.
    To be fair MOST applications do not have anything equivalent to hyper links but when they do they typically use the tab key for navigation unless it must preform its primary function of adding tabs to a document (e.g. MS-Word).


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    Can you navigate between hypertext links in MS Word with the Tab key? How about Excel?
    MS-Word is a bad example because it is a word processing program and when creating documents the tab key is supposed to insert a tab character into the document. Of course we could all argue where does the specs say that this is so. In Excel, the tab key will take you to the next cell to the right in a spreadsheet. Excel's behavior is very similar to the way web browsers work in that normally a web browser will go to the next actionable object, whether that object be a hyper link or form field. Even with MS Access its hyper link equivalent, the button, is normally part of the tab sequence.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    It may be less intuitive if you are used to another browser that only provides primitive keyboard navigation via the Tab key. And I'd like to offer an alternate analogy: Opera's functionality is like having the driver's seat on the right-hand side of the car. That's what you'd expect in, e.g., the UK or Australia, but it would be unfamiliar for someone from the US or from Sweden. One is not necessarily better than the other; they're just different.
    The analogy is good, however, when Opera decided to change the behavior, I don't think there were ANY other browsers using the tab key in a different fashion from the norm. Opera could have achieved the same end objective by assigning the Q and A keys to forms.

    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    It's a learning curve, sure. Opera is an acquired taste; you need to use if for a period of time to really appreciate it. It's a complex piece of software with lots of features, so it's not entirely unexpected that it takes some time to master it. That's is probably one of the things that deter many people from using Opera, and I acknowledge that it's an issue.
    From the standpoint of your analogy of what side of the street to drive on, your observation here is a great example of why Opera should not have changed certain traditional (if not optimal) ways of doing things. Sometimes the inertia of common convention is too great. In this case Opera's deviating from the norm added unnecessarily to Opera's learning curve thus turning off potential users and seriously harming Opera's potential for growth.

    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    It's a bit like Vim vs Notepad. Vim is far harder to get used to, but once you do it's much more usable and powerful than Notepad. (Please, everyone, do not let this thread deteriorate into an editor war! )
    Folks this is an inside joke between AutisticCuckoo and my self.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    That would mean that we'd always have to accommodate the lowest common denominator.
    Sometimes yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    It wouldn't leave any room for improvement.
    Not necessarily. Opera could have left the tab key alone and still implemented all of their navigational improvements, they could have simply assigned Q/A to form fields. Opera would have had the improved navigation and users would have had one less item on their learning curve.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    No, you misunderstand me. I didn't mean 'you' as in 'you, Ken'. I meant it as in 'somebody'; a generic pronoun.
    The English language is so imprecise at times.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    Opera isn't bug free. I'm not saying that. (Neither is any other application that I know of.)
    Agreed about no app. being bug free.

    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    Agreed, and I don't claim that it's always the developer's fault. But I'm willing to bet that in 99% of the cases where a site doesn't work in Opera, it's because of errors in the code.
    I just have the misfortune of having a site that trips up two Opera bugs and Opera users instantly assuming it is my fault.

    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    Many sites deliberately send incorrect code to Opera, as you know. They consider it a fringe browser that it's not worth testing in.
    Some of this is also a legacy of the Google Ad issue. From other forums I participated in I knew of users who intentionally did things to break their sites in Opera so that Opera users couldn't use their sites rather than taking the approach of making a direct statement of protest as I did.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    No, and that's probably part of the problem. Opera is an application that runs on many different platforms. They probably decided to use the same shortcut keys regardless of the platform, which I personally is happy about. I use Opera on Linux at home and Opera on Windows XP at the office, and I'm very glad that I don't have to learn two sets of shortcut keys.
    I'll concede that cross platform consistency can add challenges. Balancing the desire to be consistent to the customs of a single platform, against being consistent with how an application functions across platforms can be a challenge, but it should not be relied on as a justification as there are plenty of cross platform applications that behave as would be expected in Windows.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    I promise not to do it again and offer my sincere apologies. And I'm not being facetious; I'm serious.
    I think this is behind us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tailslide View Post
    I guess I can though!

    John's Excellent roundup of Dropdowns



    Again - accessibility isn't just about the visually impaired!!!

    And anyway - visually impaired doesn't just mean blind. The older I get (and the longer I spend sat in front of a monitor) the harder it is for me to read some websites - and I'm only in my late 30s (very late..).
    Well, we all know the greater audience we can reach, the better for us. However, we short of time, we have to do according to priority.

    We have to study the online behavior of them, which are not familar to most of us (atleast, for me). It's just like different concept at all. We are having trouble when designing multi-lingua site, but adding accessibility is more than that.


    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    All users with browsers that support and display title attributes.
    Titles are not for important information. There is no guarantee that they will be shown, and even if they are you have to hover the mouse cursor above the element to see them. They are pretty much inaccessible to keyboard users.


    Pardon me for asking, but what makes you think that a person with a visual impairment doesn't buy things? (Setting aside the fact that accessibility is about much more than visual impairment.)

    People who are blind or have low vision need to buy things just as people with 20/20 vision. And someone with a visual impairment is quite likely to have sighted friends for whom they may occasionally want to buy things.
    If sighted friend can help out, what's the purpose of spending a lot of time to make it unsighted-friendly?

  23. #73
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetsmith View Post
    If sighted friend can help out, what's the purpose of spending a lot of time to make it unsighted-friendly?
    It is called human decency. Being able to do things on one's own, without having to be a burden on one's friends is a basic human desire.

    Making a site accessible to a blind person isn't really that hard. For the most part it can actually be easier to make a site accessible to someone who is completely blind and uses the equivalent of a plain text browser (e.g. a screen reader or dynamic Braille display) then it to make a site accessible to someone of low vision who does unpredictable stuff to their monitor.

    W3C HTML & CSS specifications are totally designed around making it reasonably easy to build accessible websites such that it isn't an unreasonable burden to support those who are disabled or have to access a website via alternative web browsing methods. W3C's accessibility guidelines further help to provide guidance that helps one learn to design sites that are device independent.

    If one takes the time to really understand the HTML specifications and the intended semantic usage of tags, one can quite naturally build accessible web pages without having to go to extraordinary lengths.
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  24. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetsmith View Post
    If sighted friend can help out, what's the purpose of spending a lot of time to make it unsighted-friendly?
    I don't know if you're trying to make fun of us here, but just in case you really don't understand I'll try to explain it.

    Imagine that you were blind. Your best friend's birthday is coming up and you want to buy her a nice present. Let's say she's into mountaineering, and you know she's been saying how she needs a better pair of climbing shoes.

    You visit a web site for mountaineering equipment, but they don't think blind people should have the right to use the Internet, so their site doesn't work with your screen reader. There are lots of images, but no alt attributes, and all the links say nothing but 'Read more'.

    Now, would you like to call your friend and ask her over and say, 'can you help me pick out a surprise birthday gift for you from this web site?' Wouldn't that rather spoil the surprise?

    Let's think a few steps further. How would you like it to have to be dependent on others for everything you want to do? Especially if you knew that it was unnecessary; that you could take care of yourself perfectly well if only stores and web sites were built with a little more consideration?

    A few days ago I went to a seminar about web accessibility. The speakers were two young men. One of them is completely blind (he's a music teacher by profession) and the other is severely visually impaired (works for an accessibility consultant company).

    They both stressed the importance of accessibility – not only to those with visual impairments. The music teacher told us how much the Internet had meant to him, personally. He told us about the things he could do for himself – things we who are sighted take for granted – that he couldn't do 20 years ago.

    Having a disability doesn't mean you cease to be a human being. It doesn't mean you are totally different from everyone else. It only means that you have some needs that non-disabled persons do not. Those needs can be small or great, depending on what disability (or disabilities) you have.

    And all it takes for the rest of the world is a bit of thought and consideration.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
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    I find that there are always a lot of people who think that building accessibility into a site is some arduous task and that they must be convinced it will pay off for them financially before they bother at all.

    We're not talking about making websites ugly or impossibly difficult and slow to build. We're talking about simple, easy additions (useful alt text, useful link texts, labels on form elements for instance) and a little fore-thought when designing.

    I for one doubt I'll ever get it 100&#37; "right" BUT there's no reason not to try to do what you can.
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