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Thread: Accesskeys, help or hindrance?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Seattle
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    Accesskeys, help or hindrance?

    I've been reading up on accesskeys lately and am unsure if they are useful or not. Particularly for visually impaired people using screen readers, the accesskeys can conflict with keyboard commands in the screen reader, making either the accesskeys or the screen reader commands not work.

    Should I use accesskeys or not? If so, should I only use certain keys for them (numbers instead of letters maybe)? I don't want to cause grief to people with disabilities when I'm trying to help them.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    XYZZY - UK
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    1,760
    The consensus is try to use numbers only; obviously where access keys fail is due to Assistive Device bindings leaving about 7 keys in total not taken up.

    Albeit it is shortsighted to just consider people whom do not have 20-20 vision many people with cognitive disabilities also find them useful.

    Personally I use them, but use them carefully: http://www.xhtmlcoder.com/worthvalley/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Manchester, UK
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    Sometimes you have to assign letters to access keys, like here where I gave each form element on the help page an accesskey. I decided to use the alphabet starting at a, and then assigning the next letter to the next element and so on.
    Every fight is a food fight when you’re a cannibal.

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