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I think defaut focus should be on first question or anywhere else(dont really matter that much- maybe ask question as default focus? I know it just sounds cool) and questions should have tabindexes(so keyboard/vi oriented people can have better experience). Please dont put tabindexes on tags, because that would hurt.

As show by this question search should not have tabindex, we dont want people to use that function plus it can overheat the servers.

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That question proposed that search should have default focus, not that it shouldn't have a tabindex. –  Jon Seigel Jan 1 '11 at 19:25
    
right on, and I say search should have tabindex=-1 –  IAdapter Jan 1 '11 at 21:45
    
and should never have focus, I bet you can even make it unclickable if you really want to(search nazis can use google). –  IAdapter Jan 1 '11 at 21:54

2 Answers 2

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As show by this question search should not have tabindex, we dont want people to use that function plus it can overheat the servers.

No, no, no. It's fine, even encouraged, for people to search before asking questions. If it wasn't, search wouldn't be available on the site. Also, don't worry about the servers. At the worst, if databases weren't correctly configured, the site would slow down, but the servers wouldn't overheat. However, Stack Exchange has an excellent server administration team—no need to worry about that. That question is about whether initial focus should be on search, not whether search should be focusable.

Also, most people expect the first tab to focus a search field by default on most sites. I think this would break usability. Also, there's no real need for question links to have tab-indexes; if they're not assigned one, browsers will automatically give them one.

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First of all, let me clear some misconceptions you may have about tabindexes, or rather, the tabindex HTML attribute. The tabindex attribute is used to override the default order in which elements will gain focus on the webpage. When no element is given this attribute, the browser automatically focuses elements when you press tab in the order which they appear in the document. Only links and form elements can gain focus automatically, although it is possible to make any element focusable using tabindex.

The most important thing to keep in mind here is that keyboard navigation should be designed for those who are disabled first, then consideration should be given to those of us who are able to use the mouse.


So with that in mind, let's consider what you're saying here:

I think defaut [sic] focus should be on first question [...] and questions should have tabindexes

This is an incredibly stupid idea in terms of accessibility - you're basically breaking user's expectations in terms of where tab focus should start. Most pages are designed so that navigation appears first - to make it easier for the disabled, best practise dictates that a link should be inserted before the navigation section to allow them to skip the entire section to the contents. Doing what you're asking for will, however, break user expectations. Badly.

Secondly, and more importantly, what are you going to do once the questions have focus? You can do some heavy JavaScripting to enable some actions to be performed once you have questions focusable, but is it really that worth for the 0.1% of the population that may appreciate this?

Please dont [sic] put tabindexes on tags, because that would hurt.

Why? Why not allow keyboard users to see questions with the same tag as the one you're looking at?

As show by this question search should not have tabindex...

No it doesn't. Read the question again. More slowly this time, so you may actually comprehend what the question is talking about. Giving the search input element a tabindex of -1 will mean that it will be impossible to be focus onto the search box using the tab button. Why do you want to discriminate against disabled user in this way?

...we dont [sic] want people to use that function plus it can overheat the servers.

Because you actually want to make it harder for people to stop the hundreds of duplicate questions that appear on this site each day? Or reduce Stack Overflow's capacity to function as a repository of information? Do you seriously believe that searching for questions will "overheat the servers"?

I know it just sounds cool

We don't do things just because it sounds cool, but because they are actually useful in some way.

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Can I upvote this again? –  jcolebrand Jan 2 '11 at 17:09

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