… Programmers are big fans of using the keyboard instead of continually shifting between the keyboard and mouse.
And yet a significant percentage of websites make it difficult or even impossible for users to perform some activities without using a mouse or other pointer device. This curious relationship between using the keyboard and developing for the keyboard has always seemed imbalanced to me.
To be fair, navigating the Internet with a keyboard is very different from using a keyboard shortcut to perform a complex task.
The keyboard shortcuts that people use with most desktop software are combinations of two to four keys that directly activate menu actions buried somewhere in the program’s options.
Navigating a website with the keyboard primarily requires only a few keys, but they’re used constantly. The following keys are most fundamental to using a website.
- The left, right, up, and down arrow keys.
In complex web applications, like Google Docs, more complex keyboard shortcuts are common. But for an average ecommerce site — where the priorities are getting the user to find a page, learn about a product, and then go through the purchase process — those keys are usually all you need. These are the keys that are natively defined by browsers for the operation of web pages.
Why Navigate with Just a Keyboard?