WordPress WYSIWYG gets more accessible

Unless you’ve been keeping a close eye on WordPress 1.6 Alpha, you should be delighted to learn that the WordPress implementation of TinyMCE is being tweaked and improved with more readable fonts and entirely mouse-free editing. You should see these changes on WP.com very soon.

It is now possible to tab from Title to Post. If you’re used to mousing around the Write Post screen, give this a try. It surprised me how much more comfortable it is to use a key than it is to reach for the mouse. I hope you like it, too.

The editor is now styled with em-based fonts to support resizing in Internet Explorer. If you’ve had trouble seeing your text as you type, click View > Text Size and select Larger or Largest. Firefox users can still use ctrl++ and ctrl+ to accomplish the same.

And now for something completely different: writing posts without using the mouse! And I don’t mean typing out all of your HTML elements, either. Hotkeys (technically “accesskeys”) are being added to TinyMCE! It already supports the usual ctrl-keys for bold, underline and italic, plus a few focus keys: Alt+q jumps to the buttons, Alt+z jumps to the rich editor, Alt+x jumps to the element path the bottom bar. We’ve added more than fifteen accesskeys so you never have to click in the toolbar! For example, Alt+o is equivalent to clicking the “Ordered List” button, Alt+c centers the current paragraph, Alt+m opens the Insert/edit Image dialog. (Alt is for Windows and Linux users. Macs have their own key for this.)

These patches are all written and should be available to use very soon. Meanwhile, I’ll be working on another accesskey: Alt-H. Any guesses as to what this will do?