Saturday, June 16, 2007

Dojo: DOM events and consistent UX?

I recently posted on this topic to the public dojo/dijit forums but am now casting it to the blogosphere in hope of synergistic bliss (AKA "readers correcting my misunderstandings").

User interaction with a dijit is enabled by our listening for events such as:
1. click
2. mousedown
3. mouseup
4. keypress (fixed/normalized in dojo/_base/event.js)
5. etc.

The interesting thing about click is that it is abstract and device agnostic. For example an html checkbox onclick will be called under the following conditions:

On Firefox, space key up, and left mouse button up.
On Webkit, space key down, left mouse button up.
On IE7, space key up, left mouse buttion up.

In an onclick handler we don't know and presumably are not supposed to care what caused the event.

Right now, in dijit, we have a mixture of device agnostic handling (via onclick), and device speciifc handling (via onmouse__ and onkey__). This means we can't reasonably provide UI/Ux consistency of control.

Note to self: one thing I need to check out is the status of (on)click support for all elements via keyboard and mouse.

In other words, sometimes a user might activate something by pressing space, and another time, on another dijit, by releasing space. This can lead to dangerous things like stray events activating unsuspecting buttons (see related dojo ticket:3281, and firefox bug:384601).

What can we do about this?

Simon and I have discussed this a bit yesterday and have some ideas, such as rewriting/normalizing click if necessar, and perhaps enabling it for nodes the browser implementation might not.

[I've edited this post slightly since the original]

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ken Saunders - Mozilla Volunteer

Ken SaundersKen is the project manager for the Access Firefox website. This site is an incredible resource for people from the accessibility and disability communities. It provides information on the accessibility features of Firefox, and suggests optional extensions that provide even more options over the way you can interact with the web. In his words:
"The information here will point you to the tools that will help you to get the most of using the Internet. Because of Firefox and its accessibility features, the time that I spend surfing the Internet is more fun and productive again."

Like many of us who are drawn to Mozilla, he believes in a free and open internet.

Oh by the way, Ken is also a graphic artist and happens to be legally blind. I like his icons; here's an example:
a spider

Friday, June 1, 2007

Call to Arms: Free and Accessible Desktop

Our free and accessible desktop needs help.

It appears IBM will no longer have employees working on native Linux accessibility. I really don't know if this says anything about how Linux fits into IBM's corporate strategy, or if it is more about of the huge importance and focus on Internet accessibility (above the desktop). It might just be a case of too "many irons in the fire". I am pleased to hear IBM will continue to do important work in open source and accessibility.

Still... sadness.

I hope Sun can continue the great work they do in this area but it is a heavy torch to carry. There is a lot of work and I'd like to see more from the distros and other companies that understand that the future is open and that it is for everyone.

See Peter Parente's email to some linux accessibility lists. Peter intends to continue his important contributions off-the-clock. I hope he can. Note he lists a number of projects that may be affected: Accerciser, pyatspi, LSR (at least the current GNOME incantation), Linux Accessibility on the Firefox and the Mozilla platform, AT-SPI Collections.

See also, Rich Schwertfeger's blog post.