The Usability Post
Thoughts on design and user experience
by Dmitry Fadeyev

The Pitfall of Adding Keyboard Shortcuts to Web Apps

November 2008

I’ve recently discovered a few keyboard shortcuts in Google Docs, Google’s office suite of applications. But unfortunately, I’ve stumbled onto them by accident while using a shortcut on my OS X operating system. When I tried to hide the browser window using the “Command + H” key combination, something unexpected happened. The “Find and Replace” window popped up inside the app:

This is problematic because I still want to use my OS X command, but now it’s been overridden by Google. I think web application developers should be careful to check for at least the main window manipulation controls in the popular operating systems like Windows and OS X to make sure their keyboard shortcuts don’t block them.