Those keys that are so hot -- which ones should they be?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2012/09/20 07:01 -04:00, original URI:

I thought I'd talk about one of the interesting issues that came out of

The first one was important for background, because if there wasn't even a locale then I wouldn't be talking about this today.

The second one was important for background, since it introduced the two keyboards for that new locale.

And the third one was also important for background, since it pointed out that many Cherokee native speakers were going to be helping to translate Windows 8 to Cherokee!

Now one important part of the localization process is something people were talking about.


Those shortcuts, the letters that will appear underlined on menus and dialogs.

They are localized, and only single letters will work.

So what do we do?

I mean the Cherokee Phonetic layout has just six single letters on it (the six vowels):

Cherokee Phonetic layout    Cherokee Phonetic layout shifted

By usual convention, numbers and punctuation are not used for hotkeys.

Most menus will need more than six hotkeys.

Well, one easy solution is to use the Cherokee Nation layout, which has a whole bunch of single keys on it:

Cherokee Nation layout    Cherokee Nation layout shifted

Plenty of letters to pick, and pretty much there will always be choices in the strings you would be using!

Of course, Cherokee folk using the Phonetic layout might be confused if they see underlined letters that they can't seem to use.

One other option is English hotkeys!

I mean, both Cherokee layouts have English letters in them, with no keyboard switching required:

Cherokee Phonetic layout with CAPSLOCK    Cherokee Phonetic layout with CAPSLOCK shifted    Cherokee Nation layout, AltGr    Cherokee Nation layout, AltGr shifted

Note that this is the same solution that Chinese, Japanese, and Korean use for hotkeys in cases where IMEs would block the ability to use hotkeys.

To do it they would just have to add the English letter in parentheses at the end of the string.

Of course, some of the Cherokee letters look enough like English letters that people might be confused when hotkeys seem to fail -- so they'd ave to avoid some of those English letters!

Or they could just not do hotkeys.

Lots of people have opinions here, especially testers who look at hotkeys to make sure they aren't duplicated and such.

So it is an interesting issue to discuss now in the thick of things....

Alex Cohn on 21 Sep 2012 1:59 AM:

One convenient convention is to rruse the hotkeyd of English, i.e. Alt-O for OpenFile even if the menu item reads פתח. This is easy because the ASCII letters are still engraved even on national keyboards. And the big advantage is that this allows the user to survive even if (s)he cannot read the language of menus.

cheong00 on 23 Sep 2012 7:27 PM:

Shortcuts are to be learnt by muscle memory, so I think the issue on letters look alike but different on English and Cherokee may not be a problem if the rules are spelt in the beginning that shortcuts are in English.

pcooper on 24 Sep 2012 1:28 PM:

Is it a manual process to ensure that hotkeys aren't duplicated? Or is it just that "testers" own the process of running the tests and making sure that any duplicate hotkeys get appropriate bugs files?

Alex Cohn on 26 Sep 2012 11:57 AM:

Duplicated hotkeys are not a bug, but rather a useability annoyance. It is very hard to avoid them completely, especially for applications with dynamic menus, and when these menus are partially supplied by 3rd party plugins.

Matthew Slyman on 16 Apr 2013 2:52 AM:

See my posts on this other post:

Please consider a donation to keep this archive running, maintained and free of advertising.
Donate €20 or more to receive an offline copy of the whole archive including all images.

go to newer or older post, or back to index or month or day