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Cathy de Heer <[log in to unmask]>
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Cathy de Heer <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 19 Sep 2008 13:21:15 -0700
text/plain (56 lines)
Thought I would post this reply, since it solved my problem (I'm going  
with the two-keystroke option described below).


>> I have a couple more questions on this point:
>> Someone just pointed out to me that when the focus is on an open
>> dropdown, the Enter key works on the dropdown and closes it. So
>> conversely it seems to me that when the focus is on a closed  
>> dropdown,
>> a user would expect the Enter key to open it. (In a form I just tried
>> out, the up/down keys move up and down in the menu but don't open  
>> it.)

Yes, the Enter key does close the drop down list. I've not seen the
Enter key open the drop down list. I tried it online at a website and
Enter did nothing. I had to just arrow through the drop down list with
the keyboard.

In our application, and I am not saying this situation is ideal, Enter
closes the drop down and then the user has to hit Enter a second time to
activate the main action. I don't know a way around this situation. Any

>> Also, in a form with checkboxes, the Enter key is supposed to check/
>> uncheck each box, no?

No, radio buttons and checkboxes are activated by the spacebar.

>> In both of these cases, the only keystroke option for submitting the
>> form seems to be to have the Enter key submit the form only after the
>> user has moved the focus to the submit button.

>> Am I missing something?

The problem is that its not a very usable situation. You're forcing the
user to bring focus to the main action button. That may not be a bad
solution if you think the user will very often complete the whole form
and then submit, making it only one tab keystroke to the Submit button.

However what if they finish half of it and then submit it? Then they
have to tab many times to get to the action.

I guess it depends on your users and scenarios. In our application it
seems better to let the user hit Enter once to close the drop down list
and then again to Submit. It's two keystrokes as opposed to many Tab

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