[Kde-accessibility] making fallback access keys configurable

Bill Haneman Bill.Haneman at Sun.COM
Fri Mar 3 14:35:32 CET 2006

Will, I fully agree.

To clarify my earlier comment, the reason I implied that F8 was being
suggested as a "modifier" here is twofold.  One, I assumed (perhaps
wrongly) that in the absence of StickyKeys, the Control key (which is
normally understood to be a modifier key) was resulting in the access
keys appearing only while Control was pressed down.  If the Control key
is being used as a "toggle", i.e. "press/release" of control turns
Access Keys on and off, then I would suggest that this violates the
usual user expectation of how modifier keys like Control, Alt, and Shift
work, and therefore is a dubious idea.  If Control for access keys act
in the normal "modifier" way, i.e. access keys were only displayed and
active while Control is held down, then a Sticky Keys user can still use
them; how many key presses it takes depends on the implementation
details of AccessKeys.  Careful implementation could ensure that
StickyKeys users could make use of these keys with only two keystrokes
(but perhaps that implementation-detail discussion should be taken
offline; email me if you want to discuss).

If on the other hand, you want Access Keys to be a "toggled state" for
all users, using something other than a modifier key makes sense.  The
concern I would have about using something like F8 is that, as Will
suggests, ease of reaching the keys has important accessibility
implications.  In such a case, it might be preferable to keep the
toggled state on _after_ an access key has been pressed, to reduce the
keystroke count required for users who make frequent use of such keys.

But again, as Will says, we need to bring clinicians into this
discussion, which probably means going outside the developer mailing
lists :-)



On Fri, 2006-03-03 at 13:18, Willie Walker wrote:
> I'm not sure I understand the overall goals here, but as one of the
> original authors of the AccessX functionality, I'd like to offer the
> suggestion that things such as this should be passed by the domain
> experts (e.g., occupational therapists and actual users of the
> technology) before being decided.
> For example, things like the shift key were chosen because of their
> size and location on the keyboard (and later became useful because
> of their global availability across multiple styles of keyboards,
> including laptops).
> As for who can provide this domain expertise, I'd suggest Mark
> Novak, who is another author of the AccessX functionality and one who
> is well in-tune with the OT side of things.  The end conclusion might
> be the same, but at least we will be comforted that the decision
> was made with the blessing of the domain experts.
> Will
> On Mar 3, 2006, at 6:04 AM, Gunnar Schmi Dt wrote:
> > Hello Bill,
> >
> > On Friday 03 March 2006 11:43, Bill Haneman wrote:
> >> Hi Olaf/All:
> >>
> >> Having worked on keyboard navigation issues for Gnome, mozilla,  
> >> etc. for
> >> the past 5 years, I agree with your points, except for the suggestion
> >> about F8.  Using function keys as modifiers is a very bad idea,  
> >> and poor
> >> from an accessibility standpoint.  A 'standard' modifier should be  
> >> used,
> >> consistent with the rest of the desktop.
> >> [...]
> >
> > To my knowledge are talking about a keyboard shortcut for turning  
> > on the
> > access keys. Once they are turned on, you see the a number of tooltips
> > which describe the keys you need to press in order to use one of the
> > access keys.
> >
> > In other words,  for activating the access key "a" you have to:
> > 1. Press and release "Control" (possibly multiple times if sticky  
> > keys is
> > enabled). After that, the tooltips are visible.
> > 2. Type "a". The access key is activated and the tooltips disappear.
> >
> > If we switch to some other shortcut (let us say F8) you have to:
> > 1. Type F8. After that, the tooltips are visible.
> > 2. Type "a". The access key is activated and the tooltips disappear.
> >
> > Can you please explain why you would prefer to use a modifier key?
> >
> > Gunnar Schmi Dt
> > -- 
> > Member of KDE's Technical Working Group
> > Co-maintainer of the KDE Accessibility Project
> > Maintainer of the kdeaccessibility package
> > http://accessibility.kde.org/
> > _______________________________________________
> > kde-accessibility mailing list
> > kde-accessibility at kde.org
> > https://mail.kde.org/mailman/listinfo/kde-accessibility

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