Allow users to turn off or remap single-key character shortcuts. 

Introduction

Keyboard shortcuts can help some users, but cause difficulty for those using speech input and some users with motor impairments. They can also cause issues on mobile screens as the functional area is reduced on a mobile keyboard.

For speech input users, single-key character shortcuts (for example, the letter key “F” for starting a search) are particularly bad as a spoken word can be interpreted as several individual keystrokes. 

The best course of action is to avoid using single-key character shortcuts.

How to Pass ‘Character Key Shortcuts’

  • Don’t use single-key character shortcuts
  • If you really want to:
    • give users a way to turn off the shortcut;
    • allow users to remap the shortcut to use non-character keys; or
    • ensure the shortcut only works when an element has focus.

Exceptions

  • Shortcuts where one key is not a character (for example ‘alt’ or ‘alt’ + ‘c’)
  • Elements where the shortcut is only active on focus (for example, lists and dropdown menus).

‘Character Key Shortcuts’ Tips

One last time, please just avoid setting up single-key character shortcuts.

Characters include letters, numbers, punctuation and symbols – anything you could type into a word processor and print off.

See Also

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I'm Luke, I started Wuhcag in 2012 to help people like you get to grips with web accessibility. Check out my book, 'How to Meet the WCAG 2.0'.