Accelerators missing from dialogs in KDE 4.3

Chusslove Illich caslav.ilic at
Wed Jul 29 16:31:21 BST 2009

> [: Richard Dale :]
> I personally think the whole concept is broken of having letters
> underlined in menu items to denote which key you need to press with alt.
> And the underlines look really ugly [...] Is there really no better way of
> invoking menu items from the keyboard than by using alt + 'a fairly random
> character' ?

I agree with you, though not only from aesthetic point of view, but also due
to difficulty of resolving clashes when programming, and yet more so when
translating, as dicussed so far in the thread.

I personally contend that the "mnemonic" bit about accelerators is
overrated, even going as far as labeling it useless. I've no hard proof to
back this up; I think the proof (or disproof) could be provided by measuring
and comparing amount of accelerator usage among German and Japanese users
(both countries at similar development level, German users have all-mnemonic
accelerators, Japanese all-nonmnemonic).

Asuming for a moment that mnemonics in this case is indeed useless, my
perfect handling of accelerators would look like this:

* Programmers manually assign accelerators only for some widely used labels
  (e.g. "Case Sensitive"). All other accelerators are automatically
  assigned. (Same as Stephan argues.)

* However, manually assigned accelerators are not specified by putting
  anything into the text label itself, but in some other way.

* Translators thus do not see nor deal with accelerators at all; accelerator
  markers fall out of realm of translation (just like the shortcuts are

* Users see accelerators only if they want to use them, and not shown all
  the time. Possibly something happens when the user presses the Alt key in
  applicable context?

Middle of the road solution for the few manually assigned accelerators would
be to still specify accelerator in the label (either for implementation
reasons, or to allow translators to adapt them), but in a highly formulaic
fashion, such that it's stripped before the label is actually shown. Perhaps
the CJK system "...(&X)" would do, though it looks too much like part of the
text (which it no longer would be!); perhaps "...~&X", or whatever.

> - the Macintosh doesn't have them at all and looks much better.

So how are accelerators used under MacOS?

Chusslove Illich (Часлав Илић)
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