Keyboard Interaction for Re-ordering Portlets

Daphne Ogle daphne at
Fri Jan 18 22:08:46 UTC 2008

I completely miss spoke here (must have confused lightbox and general  
Sakai keyboard interaction behavior).

Sorry!  Ignore my response.


On Jan 18, 2008, at 12:49 PM, Daphne Ogle wrote:

> Interesting conversation.  A couple comments below...
> On Jan 18, 2008, at 7:49 AM, Joseph Scheuhammer wrote:
>> All,
>> 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.
> In Sakai, it would work like the reorder does now.  Tabs move  
> between panes and arrows move between individual items.
>> 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.
>> The arrowing is added via the Reorderer JavaScript code.
>> 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
>> the absence of the Reorderer by disabling JavaScript in your browser,
>> and then loading the Lightbox html example).  But, tabbing among the
>> thumbnails is a different navigation experience compared to arrowing
>> among them.
> Ah ha.  Most other places in Sakai (if not everywhere) the arrow  
> keys allow users to navigate between individual items.  I assume  
> we'll always have the reorder available in the Lightbox but if not  
> we may want to change that behavior to be more consistent with  
> other areas of the Sakai.
>> 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?
> Hmmm...perhaps it should be someone else's responsibility if it  
> would ever be used without the reorder implemented.  Is it true  
> then that the Image Gallery didn't support arrow navigation between  
> thumbnails before the lightbox?
> -Daphne
>> -- 
>> ;;;;joseph
>> 'This is not war -- this is pest control!'
>>       - "Doomsday", Dalek Leader -
>> _______________________________________________
>> fluid-work mailing list
>> fluid-work at
> Daphne Ogle
> Senior Interaction Designer
> University of California, Berkeley
> Educational Technology Services
> daphne at
> cell (510)847-0308

Daphne Ogle
Senior Interaction Designer
University of California, Berkeley
Educational Technology Services
daphne at
cell (510)847-0308

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