Keyboard Interaction for Re-ordering Portlets

Sean Keesler smkeesle at
Wed Jan 16 17:00:39 UTC 2008

Does the username msmarcoe ring a bell?

On 1/16/08 11:46 AM, "Joseph Scheuhammer" <clown at> wrote:

> Previously, I stipulated that "focus" means the target of keyboard
> events.  With that in mind...
> Shaw-Han wrote:
>> - Tab key works as it does on My Yahoo or uPortal currently, focusing
>> first on the portlet's container, and then each internal link in
>> sequence. For the purposes of the reorderer, if a link within a portlet
>> is in focus, we treat that portlet as 'selected'. When the last link in
>> a portlet is focused, and the tab key is pressed, we should move to the
>> first link in the next portlet.
> I interpret this as saying:
> -  that keyboard focus is moving around "inside" the portlet for every
> tab press -- that focus is on a link* within the portlet.
> - arrowing does not move focus.  It changes the appearance of other
> portlet frames to indicate that it is selected.
> - tabbing from the last link* in a portlet moves keyboard focus to the
> next link.
> Regarding the last point:  shouldn't tabbing from the last link in a
> portlet move to the container of the next portlet?  And then to the
> first *link in the the next portlet?  (This is Anastasia's point, I
> believe).
> *Regarding links:  don't you mean any focusable element within the portlet?
>> - When a portlet is selected, the arrow keys are used to select adjacent
>> portlets. When a new portlet is selected, we change focus to the portlet
>> container.
> This doesn't seem to fit with the first set of rules above, namely,
> focus is moved by tabbing; selection by arrowing.  Going back to the
> first set of rules, I think there needs to be a way to move focus
> "abruptly" from one portlet to another via yet another key stroke.  That
> is, the user moves focus to something within a portlet via tabbbing.
> They can then select (but not move focus) by arrowing.  If the want to
> move focus to the now selected porlet, they have to hit some other key
> to indicate that.  But, that seems clunky.
> Perhaps it is better to move focus between portlets using the arrow
> keys.  That is, tabbing works as it does now -- a fine-grained movement
> of focus from focusable element to focusable element.  But arrowing
> immediately moves focus at the coarser grain of portlet-to-portlet.
> That way tabbing continues to work the way it does now -- you noted that
> users expect a portal to behave as any other web page does with respect
> to tabbed navigation.
> Having said that, I'm not sure that this covers all the issues yet
> (e.g., if focus is on a link in a portlet, and user moves by arrow to
> another portlet, but then moves back to the original portlet, should
> focus return to the previously focused link?).

Sean Keesler
Project Manager
The Living SchoolBook
030 Huntington Hall
Syracuse University

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