Access Keys in HTML

I adapted the current template for my website from the great guys at CSSZenGarden. Now CSSZenGarden ensures that their page is accessible by people who use screen readers. One of the things they use in their HTML markup is access keys. The purpose of these access keys is to allow people who use a screen reader to navigate between links with more ease. Hence I thought it would be a pretty smart idea to include the same in my markup and I initially did. However it was pointed out by Anantha that by enabling these keys, I killed the Alt+D shortcut (Open Location or go to address bar) on windows, since the modifier for access keys on windows is the Alt key, and I had assigned the D key to my photogallery. This was something I had not taken into account while using these keys. Anyway I was reading this article and the author mentions that people using screen readers often hit the same roadblock since almost all keyboard shortcuts are already used by their screen-readers (Jaws etc.). Quoting from the website

Disappointingly, our research discovered that all but 3 keys were previously “claimed” by one technology or the other:

AccessKey / (slash)
AccessKey (backslash)
AccessKey ] (right square bracket)

At that point it was then pointed out that even these keys would be inaccessible to users not using a North American Standard (QWERTY) keyboard. So while it seems that Accesskeys is a great idea in principle, implementation brings with it the possibility that it either will not be available to all users, or that the keystroke combination encoded within the web page may conflict with a reserved keystroke combination in an adaptive technology or future user agent.

So in conclusion, it seems there is really no point using access keys on a website. Hence I have now done away with all access keys. I do plan to make my website accessible and will work that out sometime soon.

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