Keyboard Interaction for Re-ordering Portlets
clown at utoronto.ca
Fri Jan 18 15:49:25 UTC 2008
Due to a discussion Shaw-Han, Michelle, and I had yesterday afternoon,
here are some more questions/food for thought:
This thread started as a proposal to answer the question of the correct
keystrokes that the Reorderer uses to navigate and move orderable
portlets. But, there is another related question: what if there is no
Reorderer present? What are the navigation keystrokes in that case?
Whatever they are, if a Reorderer comes into play, its keystrokes should
be consistent with what is already present.
Furthermore, what is it that ensures that the proper keyboard navigation
in imposed when an Reorderer is absent? Let me unpack that question
using the Lightbox as an example: When the Reorderer is present, one
can navigate among the thumbnails by tabbing to the lightbox container,
and then arrowing among the thumbnails. The "tabbing" is accomplished
by setting a "tabindex" attribute on the lightbox container element.
Hence, if there is no Reorderer present in the Lightbox, then all the
user can do is tab to the lightbox container. Users cannot arrow among
the thumbnails. As it happens, they can tab among them since each
thumbnail contains links, and because browsers are "hard-coded" to use
tab key presses to move among links. (Note: you can quickly simulate
and then loading the Lightbox html example). But, tabbing among the
thumbnails is a different navigation experience compared to arrowing
This leads to the general question: what imposes the keyboard
navigation protocol in the absence of a Reorderer? Is it a combination
of ARIA and tabindex; that is, properties of the markup and built-in
browser functionality? Or, is there a general KeyboardNavigator
component independent of the Reorderer that handles this in all cases?
Is a general KeyboardNavigator even possible? Is a KeyboardNavigator a
case of "dom facism" since it imposes a navigation structure over and
above what the markup may already define?
I don't have any answers; I'm still trying to wrap my head around the
question(s). In fact, the question might actually be: should the
Reorderer impose any keyboard *navigation* at all? Should it be limited
only to keystrokes that change the order? Is keyboard navigation
someone else's responsibility?
'This is not war -- this is pest control!'
- "Doomsday", Dalek Leader -
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