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Click versus activate

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Click Versus Activate


The WebApps Working Group is considering deprecating the DOMActivate event type in favor of the click event type.

The rationale, according to the working group's staff contact Doug Schepers, is that:

Functionally, the 'click' event type has been adapted by UAs to have an equivalent effect to 'DOMActivate' as originally specified; the implementation landscape of 'DOMActivate' indicates that there is little interoperable content that relies upon 'DOMActivate'; deprecating 'DOMActivate' and advising content authors to use 'click' instead for accessible code is expected to improve accessibility through simplification and clarity. "Click" has become synonymous with "activate" in ordinary speech as well, making this a clearer concept to convey. Deprecation of 'DOMActivate' will also allow UAs to simplify and optimize their code significantly, making for better maintainability and increased performance, which is critical for responsive accessibility.

This wiki page has been constructed to investigate the claim that the term click is genericized, or whether it carries too much natural language baggage.

What's in a Word? (in specific, "click")

click (plural clicks) noun

  1. A brief, sharp, not particularly loud, relatively high-pitched sound produced by the impact something small and hard against something hard, such as by the operation of a switch, a lock or a latch, or a finger pressed against the thumb and then released to strike the hand.
    1. I turned the key, the lock gave a click and the door opened.
  2. a click of one’s fingers
  3. (phonetics) An ingressive sound made by coarticulating a velar or uvular closure with another closure.
  4. Sound made by a dolphin.
  5. The act of operating a switch, etc., so that it clicks.
  6. The act of pressing a button on a computer mouse.
  7. (slang) A kilometre.
    1. The term is used in countries that have adopted the metric system.
    2. In USA, it is commonly used in war and science fiction films; for example, "the target is 5 clicks north."
  8. The term used to show approval, acceptance, or general agreement.

click: Verb Infinitive

to click
Third person singular
Simple past
Past participle
Present participle

to click

  1. (transitive) To cause to make a click, e.g. to operate (a switch, etc) so that it makes a click.
  2. (transitive) (direct and indirect) To press and release (a button on a computer mouse).
  3. (transitive) To select a software item using, usually, but not always, the pressing of a mouse button.
  4. (transitive) To visit a web site. (Used in Advertising)
    1. Visit a location, call, or click www.example.com
  5. (intransitive) To emit a click.
    1. He bent his fingers back until the joints clicked.
  6. (intransitive) To click the left button of a computer mouse while pointing.
    1. Click here to go to the next page.
  7. (intransitive) To make sense suddenly.
    1. Then it clicked - I had been going the wrong way all that time.
  8. (intransitive) To get on well at a first meeting.
    1. When we met at the party, we just clicked and we’ve been best friends ever since.

click: Interjection

  1. The sound of a click.
    1. Click! The door opened.

Derived terms

Internationalization (I18n) Issues & Rammifications

  • Note: In several languages, the term "click", or a variant thereof--such as "klick" and "clic"--has been absorbed into those languages' vocabulary specifically to indicate the act of clicking a mouse. Confirmed examples of such usage exist in French, Italian, Norwegian and Sweedish.
    • many non-native english-speakers have responded to queries concerning "click" versus "activate" by asking "by 'click' do you mean RightClick, LeftClick, OnMouseDown, OnMouseUp?"

Device Independence and Interoperability

Touchpad Scenario

  • what does "click" mean in the context of a touchpad? Doesn't "activate" capture a touchpad's "touch" event model more effectively? Rather than force an innaccurate "click" event on a touchpad, why not use the neutral "activate"?

Drafts with a Dependency on DOMActivate

Orthagonal Concepts