More on Fluid's approach to keyboard bindings

Colin Clark colin.clark at
Thu Mar 20 21:45:54 UTC 2008

Hi all,

I have received a couple of questions off-list about how Fluid is  
handling keyboard mappings for our components, and thought I'd try to  
clarify our approach in the Reorderer and underlying framework.

Recently, Anastasia, Joseph, and Jonathan have been doing a lot of  
testing and analysis to come up with some good, screen reader-friendly  
default keyboard shortcuts for selecting and moving items with the  
Reorderer. We think really good defaults are important, but we also  
want to enable customizability. The Reorderer will support more than  
one keyboard mapping, and will allow alternatives to be injected at  
configuration time or dynamically in by a preferences editor.

Michelle and I are currently sketching out some Fluid framework code  
that will provide a simple API for components to support customizable  
keyboard mappings. This will prevent developers from having to  
hardcode assumptions about keyboard controls, making components more  
future-proof and interoperable. This approach is in line with our  
general philosophy of allowing flexibility and customization for  
different contexts and user needs.

With the help of Mike Elledge and Amy Chen at Oracle, we're also going  
to do some quick, targeted user research to learn more about how users  
of screen readers tend to accomplish tasks that are otherwise done  
using mouse-based drag and drop. This will help us to continue to  
refine our designs based on real feedback from users.


Colin Clark
Technical Lead, Fluid Project
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, University of Toronto

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