2.1.1 Keyboard

All functionality of the content is operable through a keyboard interface without requiring specific timings for individual keystrokes, except where the underlying function requires input that depends on the path of the user’s movement and not just the endpoints. (Level A)


As per web accessibility standards the web content should be accessed by keyboard alone. Users should be able to navigate within the web page using a keyboard, should be able to hit the links and navigate to the next page, submit the form without any difficulty.

Who will be benefited out of this?

Below are few situations where use of mouse will be difficult or almost impossible.

  • People with motor disabilities cannot use mouse effectively.
  • People who have tremors cannot control the muscles and hence cannot use mouse.
  • People who have certain visual challenges cannot point the mouse on a link or form element.
  • People who don’t have hands cannot use mouse.

How to make the content keyboard accessible?

Content authors should take the following pointers into consideration to make the web content accessible for keyboard users.

  • Every actionable element should be focusable by the tab key of keyboard.
  • Every actionable element i.e. link, button tab etc should be activated using enter key of the keyboard.
  • The focusable elements of the page should be navigated by tab key and reverse navigation should be happened by shift + tab key.
  • Users should be able to navigate to the previous page using back space or alt + left arrow key.
  • Focus caret should be available on the currently focused element with sufficient contrast to identify user’s location.
  • The tabbing order should be logical and meaningful i.e. from left to right and top to bottom covering the header section, primary navigation, secondary navigation, main content, secondary content and then the footer.
  • All the scripting functionality should be key board focusable and actionable.
  • ensure that event handlers are input device-independent.
  • Focus on to the popup and layers should be managed perfectly. Also focus back to the page when the popup or layer closes should be accurate.
  • Avoid use of access keys. If used ensure that they do not conflict with browser, screen reader and operating system short-cuts.
  • Use tabindex only when tabbing order cannot be achieved by any other means.

Exception Notes

Note 1: This exception relates to the underlying function, not the input technique. For example, if using handwriting to enter text, the input technique (handwriting) requires path-dependent input but the underlying function (text input) does not.

Note 2: This does not forbid and should not discourage providing mouse input or other input methods in addition to keyboard operation.

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