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Tab order

Do your wireframes or design mockups indicate a logical tab order for people using a keyboard, or other assistive technology, to navigate?

Why it’s important: Maria has tendonitis and is unable to use a mouse; instead, she uses the keyboard to navigate the web. When focus jumps randomly around the page she gets confused.

  • A user should be able to use the tab key to navigate to every interactive element on a page.
  • For links, users should be able to activate them with the enter key.
  • For buttons, users should be able to activate them with either the spacebar or the enter key.
  • Users should be able to tab through interactive items in a logical order, usually from left to right and top to bottom. Sometimes a logical order will be obvious to your front end team based on a simple layout, but in more complicated layouts you may need to identify the tab order in your wireframes or mockups.
  • Each interactive element should have a visible focus state, work with your visual designer to make sure you’ve accounted for these.

WCAG 2.0 references