Re: Are web applications that accessible?

Vincent Le Goff <vincent.legoff.srs@...>

Hello again,

To narrow it down to a very specific feature mentioned here: keyboard shortcuts in web apps.  As was mentioned in a previous post, the list of available shortcuts in Gmail isn't short.  Lots can be done through the keyboard.  Going through the list of messages using the up/down arrow keys is definitely something most people will expect.  Opening the message when pressing Enter is another.  But here's the catch: pressing X to select a message?  Why on earth... the thing is, pressing space would have felt more natural to most of us, but intercepting the space key is not that portable on web applications.  Pressing left arrow to open the navigation bar is great, but shouldn't alt have been used?  And yet, of course, in a web application, alt is to access the browser menu bar, not the application's.

In the previous post, lots of web applications were mentioned.  The thing is, not all of them have as good support as Gmail.  And all of them offer different keyboard shortcuts.  That's the problem, I think, or at least, one of the problems: if we have to bow to web applications and say "well, no point in avoiding them, let's get on a first-name basis instead", it also means that we'll need to learn individual application shortcut.  Am I suggesting it's not the case in a desktop application?  Yes and no.  In a Desktop application, often what you can do is connected to the type of element you are on.  You know if you are focused on a list, you might use the arrow keys to browse it.  You might use letters to jump to individual list items.  In a web application, things are a bit more complex, as the connection between "element type" and "shortcut keys" is pretty loose.  ARIA encourages a very good structure and helps to create Javascript aligned with users' expectation.  But still, it's the developer's responsibility to create keyboard shortcuts that "make sense" to users.  And all developers seem to have different ideas about what makes sense.

So what would be the solution?  Having some kind of "shortcut key standard" might sound a bit extreme and definite.  But I believe something has to be done in regard to "freely used keyboard shortcut" to try and come up with something more universal.

I'll state it again though: for me, it's only one of the problems with web applications, but I admit it's (still in my opinion) a rather important one.  How to teach to be proficient with a screen reader is going to become "how to be proficient with Youtube" or "how to be proficient with Gmail".  Not saying that's not important, just that a bit of uniformity would be welcome here.  The tools exist too.  Regardless, I would find it too bad if new users were taught to use such and such web application, not how to use a computer, or a screen reader.


On 10/7/2019 6:43 PM, Nimer Jaber wrote:


My thoughts on web apps is that many sites use web apps these days, and it makes accessing the sites with the web apps easier in many cases.

In Gmail, users can use up/down arrow keys to traverse the list of emails. Pressing left arrow places focus in the navigation bar. Pressing enter opens an email. Pressing n/p moves between emails in the thread. Pressing x selects the email in order to do batch operations on emails. Pressing r replies, pressing a does a reply all.

These methods of navigating are so much faster than doing a find, using basic HTML, or whatever else users do to navigate Gmail. If you are unfamiliar with web apps, you would still be using basic HTML with all of its limitations.

Twitter also has a list of these keyboard shortcuts. As does Facebook. As did Google Plus. As does Google Play Music. As does Youtube to some extent.

Whether users choose to use web apps or not is dependent on them and how likely they are to adapt to a new way of navigating. I think web apps can improve efficiency, but knowing to navigate without web apps is important as well.

In the NVDA user guide, under section 6.1, there is an option of pressing NVDA+shift+space which disables browse mode commands for a particular webpage and allows the use of browse mode and web app commands. I typically don't use this, and often just turn off browse mode, but this really is up to the user to choose how to best use NVDA.


On Mon, Oct 7, 2019 at 9:23 AM molly the blind tech lover <brainardmolly@...> wrote:

When I received training it was with Jaws, and one of the first things I was taught  was how to use the elements list. I taught myself how to use NVDA when I got home, because there was no one else. I like to think I am pretty competent with NVDA, though I am certainly no expert.


From: <> On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: Monday, October 7, 2019 12:07 PM
Subject: Re: [nvda] Are web applications that accessible?


I don't think blind people should be taught the elements list until they have thoroughly mastered the find command and other ways to navigate.  Yet a lot of instructional material teaches the elements list very early.  It is not anything like any structure on the web page and it separates the user from the web page and makes teaching looking at context more difficult. 


Once the student has mastered other ways of working with web pages, there is plenty of time to teach this completely artificial structure.



----- Original Message -----


Sent: Monday, October 07, 2019 10:58 AM

Subject: Re: [nvda] Are web applications that accessible?


I enjoy using the find function as well. Particularly on lengthy pages
with lots of links and/or information. Navigating with the elements list
would just take too long. This is useful on my RSS reader web page for
instance. I subscribe to a whole bunch of feeds, over 300.


Nimer Jaber

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