117

Repurposing familiar controls to do other things is generally a bad idea as it simply means that they don't behave as the user expects them to. If you are augmenting a control set then it's best to avoid existing controls and add new ones. That way, the controls that users are familiar with will behave as expected.


84

The Microsoft's Guidelines for Keyboard User Interface Design says: Use the following guidelines for designing shortcut keys: Assign simple and consistent key combinations. Make shortcut keys customizable. Use a shortcut with the CTRL key for actions that represent a large-scale effect, such as CTRL+S for save current document. Use the ...


57

Taking over existing keyboard shortcuts (in the scope of the application the user is working in) is a horrible idea. You don't explicitly state it, but I think your application is browser based. Since, in the context of the browser, F5 is an existing keyboard shortcut (a common one, at that), it is a bad idea. From personal experience - I had Norton AV ...


55

Because there is no feedback of the clipboard state. Pressing CTRL+C multiple times gives the guaranteed impression the right data is in the clipboard, just before the next action (CTRL+V, possible). CTRL+X does have visual feedback, as the data either disappears or changes view (in case of file). You are not the only one who does it.


52

What We Know So Far: The first browser did not use Backspace to go back a page: Several Mosaic menu or button functions have keyboard equivalents. Among them: b, equivalent to the Back button Source: http://www.uoxray.uoregon.edu/local/manuals/biosym/discovery/Html_Help/navigating.html First Netscape Navigator (evolved from Mosaic) Did Not Use Backspace ...


51

I don't know how it started but I can add my two cents about what ALL my clients say: $%!$% what the @$#%#% just happened? Why did the page change? Now I have to fill in that form all over again. I would love to see this go away for good, and the first thing I do when building a form laden website is the following jQuery script: var hasfocus = 'false'; // ...


36

Technically this would fall under "unexpected behaviour" for new users or people using a screen reader (where your controls may impact their usage when in "forms mode" as arrow keys are used heavily by screen reader users). A simple solve would be a well described option checkbox / toggle button at the top of the form that saves a user ...


30

The UI guidelines are a great start - but are also just that - guidelines. You need to do your research as well. Standards: Research what are accepted standards. e.g. Ctrl+S for Save. Familiarity: Research what is being done in similar, competitor, or otherwise comparable applications that your target audience is using. Multitasking: Research what is being ...


22

Always follow the principle of least astonishment. The use of F5 in this situation would be considered astonishing. There are cases when keys should be overridden in order to provide the least surprising behaviour. A common case is applications that are traditionally desktop based but are now running in a browser window that acts as a thin shell. In this ...


21

This is not a new pattern. The reason is simply that there's no feedback. You can't see whether the copy succeeded. That's why people tend to press it a couple of times, just to be sure. See the second answer to this question: Why do people clear the screen multiple times when using a calculator? Calculators obviously have a state, since they do multi-...


12

How did this come about? In 2005 this was implemented on Mozilla Firefox for the following reasons: The backspace key was mapped to the browser ‘Back’ function in Mozilla for consistency with Internet Explorer. However, to improve consistency with other applications running on Linux, it was decided that this mapping should be optional—and set based on ...


12

The only time I have ever done this, was with an internal systems diagnostic web page that allowed admin users to enter raw a raw SQL query to run against a database. The users were accustomed to using SQL Server Management Studio, which executed the query using the F5 shortcut. Users complained that pressing F5 would refresh the page, making them lose ...


9

There is another reason, apart from the lack of visual feedback - on Windows, at least, the clipboard doesn't always work. It's a known problem and sometimes transient: On a safe mode, fresh profile, firefox does this to me with, I would estimate, about 2-5% frequency (I only remember this happening from the address bar) -- this has been happening from FF ...


9

It's not used because of unintended consequences. If I'm typing something and want to write THE END, remembering to let go of Shift in the middle or after each word becomes a huge burden. Even understanding why the computer didn't type the letters I wanted is confusing. In the case of Chrome the space bar isn't being used for the " " character, but as a ...


8

The choice of j and k is indeed inherited from the ADM-3A terminal by way of vi (source). vi is a popular enough editor among Google engineers that j, k, and a few other shortcuts inspired from it (for example / for search, y for yank) took root in Gmail and then YouTube (source on popularity of vim at Google). To understand where this design came from, ...


6

That feature is inherited from windows explorer feature, that migrated to Internet Explorer and then to other browsers. It became a de facto standard, due that most computers had Windows and Internet Explorer


6

The copy command is used to make a copy of a selection. If there is no active selection, the command shouldn't go and copy something all by itself, because there is no way for a user to understand beforehand what the copy command would do without an active selection. Also, ctrl-c might be hit accidentally instead of hitting ctrl-v. If ctrl-c then clears the ...


6

Ctrl-C is an idempotent operation. As long as the same objects are selected, using Ctrl-C two or more times has the same effect as just using it once. Ctrl-X isn't like that (or at least not always); it destructively removes some objects and puts them in a clipboard. This cannot be repeated; the objects are gone. Of course, the UI may let you repeat it, but ...


6

On Windows, Ctrl is primarily used for shortcuts to menu commands. Alt is used for access keys in menus and dialogs. While these are sometimes considered as shortcuts, Microsoft sees this more as an accessibility feature. Windows Key is used for system-wide functions. Function keys can also be used for shortcuts, and there are a few standard Function keys (...


6

It is likely based on the key position of other commonly used actions (cut, copy, paste) on the keyboard. Likely it all boils down to placement on a QWERTY keyboard. [...] From there, X and V are just adjacent keys, for Cut and Paste. It's simple to remember where they are, and you'll build up muscle memory if they're close. (You'll do it ...


5

The Command ⌘ + Backspace ← or on newer Mac OS X Command ⌘ + Delete is the equivalent for the delete key on Windows OS/KeyBoard. There are application implementations on the Mac using Fn + Delete which is forward delete (on a portable Mac's built-in keyboard). Implementing both is probably the best way to support actions that users on Mac ...


5

In my experience, many keyboard users expect the following tab order for a typical login form: 1. Username field 2. Password field 3. Submit button They’ll often blindly enter the username press Tab enter the password press Enter (or Tab followed by Enter) Now, when the "Forgotten your password" link appears somewhere inbetween, they’ll unintentionally ...


5

Conventions are there to make life easier to users. User expectation is both for patterns they expect and patterns they don't expect. If a rule or convention is skipped there has to be a good reason to do so. So in the case you describe and only with that information, in my opinion, it is not a good idea to: Ignore alt+f4, you didn't mention it but if the ...


5

Short answer: yes. Which element, though depends on the content. Per w3.org: If a dialog contains the final step in a process that is not easily reversible, such as deleting data or completing a financial transaction, it may be advisable to set focus on the least destructive action, especially if undoing the action is difficult or impossible. The ...


4

I vote for enter key but always let the users know that this is an available option, ie:


4

Escape should cancel what can clearly be considered as 'the current active task'. It essentially means stop but also quit, exit, cancel or abort. It's used to stop an edit without change or close a transient dialog without altering data. Escape should never be considered a sequential historical operation. It is not an alternative, replacement or substitute ...


4

Imagine a keyboard with only two keys: 0 and 1. Since all characters are represented in the computer as binary numbers, I can still type anything I want. For example, 00011100 would be A. To type Ctrl+C, I would do 00010100 00100001. Very cumbersome, but still possible. If I were to add any key to this binary keyboard, it would be the E, as that is my most ...


4

No, it is not reasonable to expect knowledge of F1 shortcut. Specifically I have experience of two different desktop applications where there was significant UX issues because user knowledge of the "F1" shortcut key for Help was assumed. Testing and in the field feedback proved the help links embedded in the UI (both the menu and inside dialogs) was used ...


4

I would put this on a comment but I don't have enough reputation. In your case I believe the problem is you don't have a good UI for the small actions defined and want to solve it through keyboard shortcuts. Maybe you could rethink the whole process, simplify it an then think again about the shortcuts? Why does it take so many clicks? How many panels can ...


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