A Lotta Love for Keyboard Users

All web users who bemoan the general lack of support for keyboard accessibility in web apps, take heart! Circonus has some great features for keyboard lovers. We know there are many web users out there for whom keyboard shortcuts are a quicker and easier way to use applications, particularly web apps. This is especially true if you use a specific app heavily, or are a full-time computer user in general.

Anywhere in Circonus, you can always see the keyboard help screen by typing “?” so you’ll have an ever-present “cheat sheet” as you learn the shortcuts. As soon as new keyboard functionality is added, the keyboard help screen will be updated immediately to reflect the new shortcuts, thanks to the magic of continuous deployment.

Jump Navigation

To jump to a particular section in Circonus, all you have to do is type the proper keyword and you will jump there immediately. For example, type the keyword “dash” (d-a-s-h) and you will jump to the current account’s dashboard. It’s that easy! Here’s a list of the current jump keywords:

  • “dash” (jump to the dashboard)
  • “alerts” (jump to the fault dashboard)
  • “rules” (jump to rules)
  • “checks” (jump to checks)
  • “metrics” (jump to metrics)
  • “trends” (jump to the trending dashboard)
  • “graphs” (jump to graphs)
  • “worksheets” (jump to worksheets)

The shortcut for opening the feedback dialog also works the same way: simply type “feedback” and the feedback dialog will open for you. Another quick shortcut is the forward-slash (/), which focuses on any search field that may be on the page.

Graph & Worksheet Shortcuts

Here’s where we get to the good stuff. We’ve added some great shortcuts to work with graphs and an enhanced zoom tool which is only available via keyboard shortcuts.

To start off, you can now see the legend on any thumbnail graph view (on “My Graphs,” “Trending Dashboard,” and all worksheets) not only on the large graph views as before. To do so, simply hold down the shift key, and the legend will appear for whichever graph you’re hovering over. On a worksheet, the shift key also inverts the legend hover option. So if you have enabled the new worksheet option to show legends upon graph hovering, holding down the shift key will disable the hovering legends.

Back in January we launched an enhanced graph zoom toolbar that relies on keyboard shortcuts. Normally the zoom toolbar is labeled “Past” because its buttons will set the graph zoom level to view data from the past one week, two weeks, etc. However, if you hold down either comma or period, the zoom tool will be enhanced and the label will change to “shift.” You will also see an orange bar at the end of the graph(s) which indicates the end that will be shifted (and if you hold both keys, you will get two orange bars, indicating that you can pan the entire graph date range into the past or the future). While holding one or both keys, click one of the new arrow icons that appear inside the “shift” buttons—the graph date(s) will be shifted by the specified amount in the specified direction. Not only does this work when viewing or editing graphs, it works almost everywhere there is one or more graphs, whether large or thumbnail sized.

One last set of useful shortcuts applies when viewing a worksheet. Among the newly added worksheet options is the ability to resize worksheet graphs to one of three sizes. In addition to being able to do this by clicking the buttons in the worksheet options dialog, you can instantly change the size of your worksheet graphs by pressing alt+1, alt+2, or alt+3.

Being avid keyboard users ourselves, we are excited to build keyboard support into more areas of Circonus as we are able to do so. Keep watching for more keyboard info and if you have ideas for some useful shortcuts, please let us know!