Uk Government accesskeys standart

UK Government accesskeys standard


The accesskey attribute, introduced in HTML4.0, is intended to provide keyboard shortcuts in that they provide an alternative form of navigation.

This attribute should be added to the hypertext link element within an HTML page as follows.

<a href=”whatsnew.htm” accesskey=”2”> What’s New </a>

This addition allows users with limited physical capabilities to navigate the organisation’s website more easily. There are some drawbacks, for example:

  • functionality depends on the type of operating system you are using,
  • the attribute is only supported by MS Internet Explorer 4 and above and by Netscape 6x versions,
  • with Windows-based systems the user has to press the ‘Alt key’ and the accesskey, and
  • with the Macintosh system the user has to press the ‘Ctrl key’ and the accesskey.

In the example above, the organisation’s What’s New page has a ‘2’ value given which should be used consistently throughout the Website.

When a user visits your department’s website for the first time they bring their collective experience gained from all other sites. It is, therefore, important that UK Government Websites adopt a constant accesskeys standard. Variations from this will make it more difficult for users as they have to learn new navigational skills each time.

Listed below is the recommended UK Government accesskeys standard:

S – Skip navigation

1 – Home page

2 – What’s new

3 – Site map

4 – Search

5 – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

6 – Help

7 – Complaints procedure

8 – Terms and conditions

9 – Feedback form

0 – Access key details

When this navigational system is made available, it is important to inform your website users, as soon as they enter. Otherwise, users who are least able to do so will be faced with a mouse-dependent navigational system that could have been bypassed. Each page could display a message, e.g. ‘UK government accesskeys system’

Web managers can extend this system by attributing any one of the other 25 alphabetic characters to pages within their website but should ensure that the core elements listed above are used. It is important to ensure that the additional keys selected do not compromise shortcut keys used by various browsers, e.g., Microsoft Internet Explorer ‘alt h’ drops down the help menu.



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