Currently, TAB in chat has one purpose, name completion. You type @seTAB and it would complete to @SecondRikudo, awesome.

But there's a problem, TAB's default behavior is to change focus to another input, incidentally, the next input is the submit button for chat (the button).

This is a problem when the tab completion doesn't resolve, or is too slow to respond, because if you mispelled @seTAB and instead typed @srTAB, the result would be that you type @sr, and then move away to the send button. From now on, three things might happen:

  • You may notice the error, an SHIFT+TAB back to the textarea (or use the mouse) to correct the error, and keep on chatting.
  • You hit backspace, in which case you would actually be pressing the back button in the browser.
  • You hit space, which would send your errorenous @sr to the room.

In light of this, I want to suggest to disable TAB's default behavior as a navigational key, only when focus is found on the textarea.

  • Just don't hurry when typing :p
    – Alma Do
    Jul 15, 2014 at 11:24
  • 1
    Please don't take my tab-navigation away from me.
    – salathe
    Jul 15, 2014 at 11:53
  • I actually make use of this. Do not remove the tab behaviour, please. Jul 15, 2014 at 11:56
  • Please post an answer with your usecase so that it can be debated and voted on separately, it's hard to do it in a comment. @MartijnPieters Jul 15, 2014 at 12:02
  • How about a different name completion key, like a space for example? Jul 15, 2014 at 13:36
  • @GeorgeDuckett That's also possible, but developers are generally used to TAB completion from the various dev tools we have (prime example, Terminal). Jul 15, 2014 at 13:45
  • 1
    I can't help but think I'd encounter this a lot less if ɥʇǝS would spell his name using proper characters.
    – Shog9
    Jul 18, 2014 at 4:43

2 Answers 2


Just like my response to the same request for the Markdown editor: No. The Tab key is the most important accessibility key; I would judge it to be on the very top of the list of keys that you should leave alone in a web page. Even overriding it for autocompletion was a borderline decision, and it's okay only because those situations in which the Tab key does not have its native functionality are a) rare, b) obvious, and c) easy to end.

What I could live with is adding a second autocomplete key (combination), if there's consensus about it, but as you say yourself, tab is a pretty obvious choice.

  • Given that pressing Enter in the textarea will automatically "submit" and effectively press the send button. Can we at least have a single TAB press to skip the send button, so that it isn't pressed and sends the incomplete message? Jul 16, 2014 at 7:05

I actually rely on the tab key to work, and do not want this to be removed.

When I want to upload an image, I use TAB to navigate to the upload... button and hit ENTER. I really don't find it that hard to distinguish between autocompletion and tabbing to other elements of the web UI.

Moreover, visually impaired people use this site too and their screen readers rely heavily on things like TAB working. Removing this functionality will break chat for them in ways that may be hard to remedy.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .