Picture of Conlin Durbin

Conlin Durbin

November 27, 2017

Mimir Classroom Gets Keyboard Support

KeyboardSupport+MimirSource

Keyboard support is a big deal for web apps. Power users frequently use keyboard shortcuts to navigate app interfaces quickly. In addition, many users with physical disabilities rely on the keyboard to provide them with a means to navigate and use an app reliably. Visually impaired users also often rely on the keyboard and a screen reading application to navigate. Standard web elements have fairly good keyboard accessibility built in, but as the web has matured, those standards have changed. Ensuring good keyboard support is a large step in our mission to bring computer science learning tools to the world.

When discussion keyboard support, you can break down the work into two main areas. Keyboard navigation is the use of the TAB key and Enter/Spacekey to move through the pages of an application. Using standard web elements like <button>'s and focusable elements allows users to quickly navigate and interact with a web app. Keyboard shortcuts are giving power users the ability to interact with the web app faster — things like using ctrl-s to save forms or ctrl-a to select all checkboxes on a page.

KeyboardShortcutGIF+Mimir

Our platform is working towards support for both types of keyboard use. In our most recent update, we added basic support for keyboard shortcuts.

All forms on the site will now save when a user presses ctrl/cmd + s, making it much faster to interact with forms on the site.

We’re also constantly adding more keyboard navigation to our app. As we find areas that are inaccessible with a keyboard, we add support for the standard TAB/Enter interactions. This is a work-in-progress, but we’ve already added tabbing support to many of the major pages on the platform.

 

Adding accessibility to a web app is a long process, but we are excited to continue adding support. Look for more on this topic in the future!