Accesskey Settings

Posted February 7th, 2006 by Team Access

No longer in use: Accesskeys are platform-specific navigational keyboard shortcuts. Need an example? If you’re using Windows, hold your Alt key and press the letter F. This should open the “File” menu on your browser. These keys can also be used on websites to aid site visitors, but due to the wide variety of user agents, UAs, or web browsing devices, platform conflicts are almost unavoidable. Thus, their real world use and value is highly questionable, and has been debated hotly at times. Offering them is a good thing to do, but implementing them can create usability problems.

But most problems are solvable, and people like Gez Lemon and Thierry Koblentz got creative, motivated by active usage on sites like, and devised solutions. Now developers can give the best of both worlds by offering accesskeys while letting users set them to their liking. That’s what we’re doing here.

No longer applicable: We’re pleased to announce this new accesskey feature on our site now. In our case it’s all thanks to the creative powers of our very own Dan Champion, with a few tweaks by Mike. To try this script, and set your accesskeys — or remove them from the site altogether — go to the Settings page and try it out. Please note that this feature uses a cookie to remember your preferences, but no client-side scripting like JavaScript is necessary.

To use the accesskeys on this site, in most cases just hold your Alt key and press a number or letter — zero through 5, A through Z. Doing this will open the target page, but if you’re using Internet Explorer, you’ll have to then hit Enter to activate the link and navigate to the page.

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