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Shortcuts, hide icons, numbered links

Author Topic: feature suggestion #3 - updated  (Read 197 times)
« on: February 22, 2009, 05:54:06 PM »

The keyboard shortcuts implemented in QtWeb that require no mouse input are fantastic. They are consistent with QtWeb's advantage of SPEED. QtWeb is FAST.

And now QtWeb allows us to hide all the icons, even the ones that appear with the Navigation bar. Brilliant!

What I'd like to see are a few "finishing touches" added in the area of keyboard shortcuts. This would I think make QtWeb an even more "polished" professional project. In theory these should not contribute detrimentally to the size of the program and hence are consistent with QtWeb's advantage of SMALL SIZE.

1. Add in shortcuts in every window and dialogue box; leave no function of QtWeb inaccessible in a "mouse-less" situation

2. Add the capability to hide the icons that appear in the menu bar drop-down menus

3. Add "numbered links" or "list of links" functionality

Hopefully the value of these additions will be self evident. But if, and only if, a persuasive argument or explanation is warranted, read on.

1. Keyboard shortcuts

Is standardisation is useful? One somewhat ubiquitous shortcut is Ctrl-W. It can close windows on the MacIntosh and it often can close windows on PC's. It can close Tabs in browsers without closing the browser. This works in QtWeb, although the enumerated keyboard shortcut for closing Tabs is something else, but I am so used to Ctrl-W I do it by habit. In most of the poular browsers, there is a keyboard shortcut for highlighting the URL in the Address/Navigation Bar. Alt-D is one such shortcut. I haven't found a keyboard combination in QtWeb yet that will highlight the URL in the Navigation bar. I keep pressing Alt-D thinking something is going to happen. Old habits die hard.

In the mobile world we don't always have access to a mouse pointer. And when we do have access it is not always as easy or quick as pressing keys. There is a world record holder for the fastest blindfolded txt messaging, but I am not aware of a similar record for mouse pointing. Is the keyboard fast? Can you operate one with your eyes closed?

Let's look at the big monopoly with the most end users for a moment (only a moment), who more or less can ignore user feedback and do whatever they want. Since the days of Windows 3.11 Keyboard shortcuts has proved to be one of the few things that Microsoft, the "GUI company", does well. Why? They don't have to, do they? Yet I am certain that it is still rare to find a Window in any part of the OS or any MS program that cannot be navigated with the keyboard. They never seem to forget this detail.

For example, in almost all cases every menu toolbar command and every option in every dialogue box option can be fully controlled with some key combination, e.g., usually Alt-somekey.

And if you look at the latest version of the MS Office suite programs, biggest monopoly outside of the OS (?), MS is implementing even more keyboard control, and deemphasising the toolbar buttons. Why? Again, I cannot say for sure. They don't have to. But I can say with certainty that there is very little if anything you cannot do in these programs using the keyboard. As a mobile user with no mouse, this is one area where I must give that company credit, compared to so may software programs I see that lack this attention to detail. The keyboard enables doing things faster.

Often with programs that leave out keyboard shortcuts, one can edit the resource file, and add them by hand, with ResHacker, by adding a "&" in the appropriate place, e.g. Cancel becomes &Cancel and this gives you the Alt-C keyboard shortcut for Cancel.

Sometimes one can even change or delete icons, further customising the look and feel of the programs to her liking.

Or with an open source program like QtWeb, a user could perhaps compile using her own pngs instead of those provided.
Seems like a lot of work just for keyboard shortcuts and aesthetics.

Why would users go to such lengths to change the keyboard based accesibility and the look and feel (icons) of their programs? Why have "skins" been so popular? If they had to choose what would be more important to most users: the way their computer looks or how well it works? Why does MS have a massive budget for designing icons?

QtWeb recognises this common desire of end users to manipulate the look and feel of their programs by allowing for the user to choose from several different Applications Styles. Essentially, QtWeb has provided "built-in skins", keeping external files to a mininum. This is to be appreciated.

2. Hiding menu bar icons

Of course if we hide icons then we take away any issue of whether the use will or will not like them. Perhaps icons are a "selling point" if they are good, and have universal appeal. But if we take away the icons, will users demand them?

QtWeb's main window looks really smart with the buttons hidden. It is 100% efficient on screen space and the rendering is as good as Safari. Really nice.

And the ability to hide the icons that appear with the Navigation bar was an impressive foresight, because there are time we must unhide that bar. Would you believe I was going to request this same feature?

** Unhiding the Nav bar to mind another feature that could be useful. Sometimes there will be web pages that open without the menu bar, thanks to javascript. It would be useful to have keyboard short to display the menu bar and Navigation bar in these situations. I'm not sure other browsers have this built-in. For example in Firefox, it requires an Add-On. So this could be another unique useful feature of QtWeb.

3. Numbered links

This is something you see in text-only browsers and in the high-quality Firefox Add-On called Mouseless Browsing. Years ago MSIE used to have a "Web Tool", if I recall the correct name of the package, where you could display all of a page's links via the context menu (or it might have been only the image links, I can't remember). You could then Tab through them. This made navigation faster and enhanced accessibility.

All of these are aimed at the same thing: keyboard access to everything that is on a webpage. The best implementaion I've seen of this is in w3m the text-only browser. It produces a list of links including links to images, and it supports numbered links. Everything is a key press away.

Of course, text-only browsers don't have WebKit and they don't handle .js well. QtWeb would fill a niche with this capability and it would be a boon for mouseless travel notebook users and Gen X and Gen Y txt'ers and Blackberry owners who've developed fast fingers.
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2009, 07:25:36 PM »

Thank you for the feedback.

> 1. Add in shortcuts in every window and dialogue box; leave no function of QtWeb inaccessible in a "mouse-less" situation

Working on shortcuts customization for the next version...

> 2. Add the capability to hide the icons that appear in the menu bar drop-down menus

Placed in to do list for future enhancements

BTW: to hide/show NavBar, you can use Ctrl+|, to hide/show MenuBar is not so simple (just hide is simple, but all shortcuts are linked to the menu bar and won't be accessible), needs to be investigated

> 3. Add "numbered links" or "list of links" functionality

Not quite clear
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2009, 10:53:36 PM »

Cool. Thanks.

I use that Ctrl-| shortcut a lot.

To be clear, I am not suggesting to hide the Menu Bar itself.

I am suggesting to hide the icons that appear next to each choice in the drop down menus, e.g. when you press Alt-F you see icons.

in the cpp code this is QIcon

However, the most important thing IMO is having every function be keyboard accessible and every msgbox be navigable with the keyboard.  Ctrl-Tab moves from tab to tab, Alt-C closes/cancels, Alt-Ofor OK, etc.

in the cpp code this is QKeySequence
and addAction(tr("Whatever"))

It is a matter of adding an ampersand: &Whatever
And keeping track of not using the same key combos more for two different functions.
I'll be happy to make the edits myself and send them to you.

If a user can access every function and every option and open/close any window/msgbox in QtWeb via the keyboard alone, then this obviates the need to ever use the drop-down menus and thus one never has to see the icons there. For example, because we have the Ctrl-| shortcut I do not have ever have to press Alt-V and hence I will not see the icons in the Alt-V (View) drop-down menu.

As for enabling user-chosen (custom) shortcuts please consider making them stored in an accessible format, like plain text file. 

re: Numbered links

What I meant was:
Get a list of the URL's on the page.
And make it a numbered list.

1. http://www.url1.com
2. http://www.url2.net
3. http://url3.org

To go a step further you can display the number of each link in the displayed page. An example of how this is implemented is here:


So viewing the page you would see

href for URL1 [1]    href for URL2 [2]

        href for URL3 [3]

With the above example implementation, the user
can press Ctrl-1 and this will be the same as
clicking a mouse on the link to URL1.

Ctrl-2 for URL2
Ctrl-3 for URL3

No mouse needed.
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2009, 11:38:08 AM »

I only have one suggestion, in other browsers when you click on the toolbar the URL is highlighted and you can type the new URL inside without need to move the cursor to the beggining of the tool bar. I would like to suggest this is implemented in QTWeb browser too.
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2009, 11:57:35 AM »

I only have one suggestion, in other browsers when you click on the toolbar the URL is highlighted and you can type the new URL inside without need to move the cursor to the beggining of the tool bar. I would like to suggest this is implemented in QTWeb browser too.
Great suggestion! I forgot to request this!
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2009, 04:56:03 PM »

Suggestions #1 and #2 are implemented in QtWeb 2.0, please check the functionality.

Suggestion #3 (numbered links) is accepted and placen in TO DO list for future versions? status is here:


Suggestion #4 (higilighting URL) is accepted . Now it works if you press Alt+D, howeve not works for mouse click on URL field.

Status is here:  http://code.google.com/p/qtweb/issues/detail?id=66

Thanks for good and useful suggestions which make browser better.

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