Screen readers and navigation

i navigate by headings when reading a long technical document or news items and essays that are large

i try to navigate by edit box when i can (using edit box navigation, i get the “donate” edit box before the Username edit box on the AccessibleTwitter sign-in/home page, which is a bit unexpected from a user’s point-of-regard)

on pages with multiple forms, since ARIA and the Role Module lack a “form” landmark (the closest thing is “search” – i logged a bug against ARIA 1.0 and the Role Module requesting “form” as a predefined role), i usually use either an AT-generated or a UA-generated list of form fields which is navigatable not just through use of the UpArrow and DownArrow keys, but by first letter of the labelling text

yes, accesskey is problematic with IE as there is no way to cascade ALT+Key so that a user can use the accesskey without conflicting with the UA’s chrome — but FireFox overcame this by using ALT+SHIFT+Key on the windows platform, and Opera has the most customizable accesskey options available anywhere…

my point of view on accesskey is that it does work under the right circumstances, and in those circumstances it is a DEFINITE time and energy saver when one can simply jump-to a particular form and/or form field using an accesskey — to me, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, but that is simply my opinion, which is both philosophical and practical — or at least so i like to tell myself…

FYI, i’ve been working on accesskey replacement strategies:

1. general HTML A11y Task Force Access (Key) Replacement Wiki Page:
http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/HTML/wiki/Access

2. Accesskey Replacement Requirements (approved by PFWG years ago):
http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/HTML/wiki/Access/access_key_requirements

3. a plan to port the XHTML Access Module to a generic Access Element
to address navigation not only in structured, but in stacked, markup
langauages as well:
http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/HTML/wiki/Access/element_versus_module

4. rob burns’ (robburns1 on twitter) Command & Event and Keyboard
Focus Module:
http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/HTML/wiki/Access/command_and_event

the
worst offenders are forms inside tables? one has to use table mode to get oriented and check labelling, then switch to forms mode in order to interact with the form fields — aria will definitely help this, but what would help FAR more is if content developers actually abided by the newish verbiage in the HTML5 draft that explicitly bans the use of TABLE for layout or stylistic purposes

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