This is a browser issue, not a web site development issue.
I've lost several large forum posts in the MS forums and others by hitting the Backspace key while the writable HTML area on the web page clearly had the input focus - I could see the text cursor blinking. So even this forum is
not immune to the problem. It doesn't matter at all whether tabindex
Yes, it's true that this forum had eventually implemented a safety net by including a prompt that prevents navigation if you've begun editing, which is certainly very helpful at combating this problem.
But ultimately, the problem is that the cost of this feature, and the cost of every website having to write extra code to protect user data against this feature, does not outweigh its benefit.
If the IE team is concerned that removing this capability to protect user data will cause those that depend upon it to consider using another browser, then simply add an option: "Backspace navigates back in history when an input field is not
currently focused (and sometimes when it is focused)". It should be disabled
by default, though, because web pages don't currently function like rich client applications, thus they all cannot be expected to protect user data from inadvertent navigation related to common focus issues. (Common, especially in this current AJAX
pop-up age we live in.)
If the IE team is keeping this legacy feature around as an accessibility tool for the physically disabled, then please consider including the aforementioned option anyway and simply
enable it by default when any of the accessibility options in IE or in Windows are detected as
enabled during the installation of IE.