chapter  2
10 Pages

- Keyboard-Only Access

This chapter discusses techniques for using a computer entirely from the keyboard, without any sort of pointing device. Keyboard-only access is important for several different populations of computer users, including [1]

• Individuals who are blind • Individuals who have low vision that makes it hard to find small objects on

the screen • Users with upper body impairments who have more reliable keyboard

access than mouse access • Users with injuries or temporary disabilities • Users with poor targeting skills • Users who want to write robust macros • People who have difficulty with pointing • People using an augmentative communication device for computer access

As a general rule, most programs for both Windows® and Macintosh® operating systems let you do the same thing in several different ways, including at least one that only requires the keyboard. For example, there are at least five ways to copy selected text to the clipboard in Word 2010 for Windows [2]:

1. Click the mouse button on the Edit menu, click on the Copy item 2. Alt, E, C 3. Ctrl + C 4. Click the Copy toolbar button 5. Right-click on the selected text to display the context menu, click on the

Copy item

Computer users tend to rely on mouse-based methods way too often, because they either do not know about more efficient alternatives or choose not to learn them [2]. There are several advantages to using the keyboard, instead of the mouse [1, 2]. Using the keyboard removes the need for the user to move his or her hands from the keyboard to the mouse. Using the keyboard also eliminates the need to target small items on the screen. Finally, keystrokes are faster than mouse movements. Lane et al. [2] had six able-bodied graduate students perform tasks using the keyboard, toolbar buttons, and menu items. Keyboard shortcuts were much faster than toolbar buttons, and toolbar buttons were much faster than menus [2].