IDEA keyboard friendliness is a hoax

I posted a big bug description at
http://www.intellij.net/tracker/idea/viewSCR?publicId=8466 , so if you tend
to use keyboard as myself, please go and vote for it. Here is the bug
description for people who do not use Tracker, maybe someone has some
thoughts on this.

---

IDEA dialog windows are a disaster. One cannot use keyboard only.

I just want to say beforehand, that I use W2K and I expect controls in any
application that runs on my OS to be Windows standard.

As an example we can start from project properties:

  • Alt-F/P ==> Opens Project Properties. "Paths" icon is shown in different

color in the list on the left, but "OK" button seems to be selected, because
it has this well-known dotted frame arond the text. Here is the first
question: which control is actually selected?

  • Press Right or Left. Yes, OK button was selected. By pressing Left or

Right one can change between buttons only. This is correct behaviour. Now
press Tab. Buttons still can be selected one by one using Tab key, until
rightmost or leftmost is selected. Only then focus is changed to the next
group. That means, that this tabstop groups were assigned to each button.
Though you can see this stuff even in MS own windows, I think it is a bug,
and buttons should be the one group. But this is what I can live with.

  • When Help button is selected, press Tab. The focus is moved from buttons

group, but where? Try pressing Up and Down. OK, the leftmost list is
selected. As a whole! Bugs here: one cannot change items in the list, using
keyboard, the only what happens is the list is scrolling. Another bug, that
list while being current control, is not shown as selected with standard
Windows dotted frame.

  • Press Tab again. Focus was moved to Target JDK, but you cannot see it,

until you press Down key. Press Tab again. Now the Target JDK combobox is
selected by a visible frame, and you can use Down arrow again. Looks like
invisible control is hidden between the leftmost list and Target JDK
combobox. Why should I care?

  • Now press Tab again. Where is the focus? Try pressing arrow keys, space

key... nothing happens. Press Tab again. Nothing happens again. Press Tab
for the third time. Oh, now you see: the item in Project tabbed page is
selected. Bugs here: "Output type" and "Compiler output path" are read-only
edit boxes, their contents can be changed only using ellipses box on the
right. So, IDEA tries to focus on read-only edit boxes, but they are not
shown as selected. On the third tab IDEA jumps to the concrete item in the
project page, which is incorrect, because it should jump to Project tab
itself first.

  • By the way, how do you get to the ellipses?

  • Now you stuck with the notebook. Tab or Shift-Tab does not help you at

all, it only changes items. Ctrl-Tab works (oh, really?), but you cannot
leave the notebook. This is it, you are stuck here. Maybe you can use
buttons on the pages, like Add button on the Project page? No, you cannot.
Tab key works as Down arrow. You can use Alt-A to add path to the project,
but this is it: you cannot leave notebook anyway.

So, the whole big mess just with one dialog window. But we have "modern"
features, like items in the leftmost list change their backgound color when
mouse is hovered over them. Coooool! But useful? Not at all.

Best regards,
Michael J.


3 comments
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Tracker # 7752 addresses an additional issue.

"Michael Jouravlev" <mikus@mail.ru> wrote in message
news:avhvk4$vr6$1@is.intellij.net...

I posted a big bug description at
http://www.intellij.net/tracker/idea/viewSCR?publicId=8466 , so if you

tend

to use keyboard as myself, please go and vote for it. Here is the bug
description for people who do not use Tracker, maybe someone has some
thoughts on this.

>



0
Comment actions Permalink

Are you looking at IDEA in terms of 508 compliance? (that is the U.S. government regulation supporting access for disabilities for software programs...Visually impared...people who can't use a mouse, etc see http://www.section508.gov/ for more info).

Or are you asking from the perspective of an expert user who is just faster with the keyboard than the mouse?

I would agree that IDEA is not yet 508 compliant. I'm not sure they intended it to be, nor am I sure that it makes sense to go all the way to do that. So they loose sales to disabled programmers and the government. My guess is that there are other products to fill those needs.

I might keep the requirements in mind as I filled out more of the application with the hope of eventual compliance.

From the perspective of an Expert user, I think the Keyboard support is among the best I have seen. I think calling it a disaster is unfair.

The issues you raised are with a window that is not used very frequently. A similar analysis of the debugger window, or the editor window would be more useful.

Mike

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"Michael Kirby" <kirby@ess.mc.xerox.com> wrote in message
news:7851690.1042203743777.JavaMail.jrun@is.intellij.net...

Are you looking at IDEA in terms of 508 compliance? (that is the U.S.

government regulation supporting access for disabilities for software
programs...Visually impared...people who can't use a mouse, etc see
http://www.section508.gov/ for more info).
>

Or are you asking from the perspective of an expert user who is just

faster with the keyboard than the mouse?

The second one. I did not know about section 508 before.

From the perspective of an Expert user, I think the Keyboard support is

among the best I have seen. I think calling it a disaster is unfair.

Have you ever tried to use Windows and MS apps without mouse? It works. And
maybe using Explorer just with keyboard is not so rewarding as Windows
Commander, but one can do it. I need full keyboard support, because it is
faster and easier for me, like F10 jumps to main menu despite of the mouse
location. Also my fingers start ache and go numb when I use a mouse. At
least my wrists are still OK ;)

IDEA is far from being the worst. IBM makes stuff which cannot be compared
:) Like their tools for Voice Response Server. Some of those are Java-based
and seem to be written two hours before shipment and thrown in the package
just because they needed grafical tool to set two (or hundred) parameters.
Some tools use their own version of tabbed notebook a la OS2, and you cannot
switch between controls on a page AND between pages using keyboard only. I
hate them for this. It gave me a lot of pain when I was installing their
product on the production rack, which has fold-down keyboard with trackball
and no place for a mouse. I hate trackball almost as deeply as Biff hated
manure ;)

IDEA is not a server product, but this is just a matter of convenience: I
like keyboard.

The issues you raised are with a window that is not used very frequently.

A similar analysis of the debugger window, or the editor window would be
more useful.

I just picked up the first window in the row. Why one dialog should behave
differently from another?

And again: folks, sorry for the tone. I like the IDEA so much that finally I
even payed for it ;) I think it is a really great product and I want it to
be better for my own sake and for the sake of other would be users and IT
reviewers, so they would write only about "what's hot", and have no reason
for "what's not". If one does not care, one does not swear ;)

With all respect,
Michael J.


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