Chapter 25: Focus Indication

Knowing the user’s path while navigating with the keyboard is important. Every user need to know where they are, which link or button they are going to activate helps them do the right thing on the page. In certain cases the dotted outline that is displayed to indicate the users current focus will not be clear or sometimes completely missed. This is a critical problem for the users especially those who have low vision and those who highly depend on a keyboard alone.

WCAG 2.0 wants to maintain a clearly visible focus indicator on all the focusable elements. Few designers go an extra mile to provide a high contrasting focus indicator which is a good practice. To meet just the WCAG requirement, a default focus indicator that is clearly visible is sufficient.

Validating for focus indicator

  1. Open the page on the browser.
  2. Navigate the page using the tab key of the keyboard.
  3. While traversing through the page, check if a focus indicator is available on each focusable element.
  4. If a focus indicator is not available to identify the user’s path it is an accessibility violation, else if a clear indicator is maintained this success criteria can be marked as pass.

WCAG Success Criteria

2.4.7 Focus visible (Level AA)

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