Gmail Google Reader and Remember The Milk are…

Gmail, Google Reader and Remember The Milk are the big three webapps that have the wonderful ‘j/k’ keyboard shortcuts for navigation. They let you command the app without taking your hands off the keyboard. Essentially, ‘j’ moves the cursor down the list, ‘k’ moves it up, and ‘o’ or ‘Enter’ opens the item (and there are many more great hotkeys, too). These hotkeys make for a very pleasant user experience. They’re way faster than mousing, and especially laptop track-pads.

I’d like to see ‘j/k’ navigation become a common convention in web-apps and websites. Any app or site with items in a list would benefit: search results, blog archives, forums, etc. Some sites badly need it, like Google Docs (for navigating the doc list) and Youtube (for search results). Forums are also an ideal candidate (navigating the threadlist, posts, jumping to different forums, etc). Google Experimental Search adds hotkeys for Google search results (very nicely implemented as usual). A WordPress plugin and a bbPress plugin would really help to spread ‘j/k’ navigation as an unofficial web standard on blogs and forums.

Major sites with keyboard navigation:

  • Gmail
  • Google Reader
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Maps
  • Google Search
  • Remember The Milk
  • Yahoo! Mail
  • WordPress comment moderation (from the admin panel)
  • Netvibes
Other noteworthy implementations of ‘j/k’ navigation: