Creating Good Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts make Flash applications with many controls a good deal easier to access for users who cannot use the mouse.
When to Use Keyboard Shortcuts
Add keyboard shortcuts for the following situations:
- To silence audio quickly
- To pause repeated dynamic content updates quickly
- To control media playback (start, stop, pause, volume control)
- To access any control that requires more than five presses of the Tab key to reach
Shortcuts to Avoid
When choosing shortcut keys or key combinations, you should try to avoid the main shortcuts for:
- Windows (e.g., Ctrl+Alt+Delete, F1, Alt+F4, Ctrl+F4)
- Internet Explorer and Firefox (e.g., F11, Alt+D, Ctrl+P, Ctrl+N, Ctrl+T, Ctrl+F, Ctrl+A, Ctrl+X, Ctrl+V, Ctrl+H)
- JAWS and Window-Eyes (e.g., Numpad Plus, Ctrl+Shift+A, Ctrl+Home, Ctrl+End, most single letters, Shift+most single letters, Insert+Down Arrow, Ctrl+Shift+R; click on the Resource link below for a list)
It is unavoidable to have some conflicts, but choose carefully to avoid the most commonly used shortcuts.
Single letter shortcuts may be more difficult for screen reader users, because screen readers trap keys in certain modes, but they may be better for users with mobility impairments. Consider using ActionScript to test for the presence of a screen reader (see the How-To section of this document). Or remind screen reader users to turn off or pass keys through Virtual PC cursor mode, which traps single-letter keystrokes.
Select Next to check your knowledge of keyboard accessibility.