Skip to main content

2.1.4 Character Key Shortcuts (A)

Understanding 2.1.4 Character Key Shortcuts (A)

If your webpage has keyboard shortcuts then one of the following must be true: * Turn off: The user must be able to turn them off; * Remap: The user must be able to remap the shortcut to use one or more non-printable keyboard characters (e.g. Ctrl, Alt, etc); * Active only on focus:The keyboard shortcut is only active when it has focus.

NOTE: This success criteria does not apply if you have not implemented keyboard shortcuts.

Why is this a problem?

  • This can be a real problem for users of speech recognition software (like Dragon). Without the ability to turn off single-key shortcuts, they can be triggered accidentally and fire with the user wanting it to happen.

  • Also Keyboard-only users who who may accidentally hit keys, or have involuntary movement will benefit from turning off single character shortcuts or modifying them.

Requirements / What to do?

Make sure your users have a way to turn off single-key shortcuts. This could be in a preference section of your site.

Or provide a way to allow users to change character-key shortcuts.

The alternative shortcuts could be longer strings that would act as native speech commands for any speech engine.

Common mistakes

  • Not allowing the user to switch off or remap keyboard shortcuts.


You can see the issue in these character key shortcut video, with thanks to Kim Patch.

The remapping method can include non-printing characters.