What is Keyboard Navigation?
For those who are unable or prefer not to use a mouse, the keyboard is a primary method of navigating a computer. Other assistive technologies also rely on keyboard accessibility, including voice recognition and screen readers. This is why keyboard navigation is one of the most important things to check.
Keyboard navigation uses the TAB, Arrow, ENTER, and space bar keys. The TAB key allows a user to jump from one interactive element to another. Links, form fields, menus, and media player controls are all possible to navigate with the TAB key. If you want to activate a link or menu, use the ENTER key or space bar.
Visible focus is what allows you to see where you are when using a keyboard. If you use the TAB key on any page, you should see a line around the link that you are currently on. This line is the visible focus, and it’s how you know which link you’ll be clicking on if you press ENTER.
Common Problems with Focus are,
- The focus isn’t visible at all.
- The visible focus becomes lost. This can happen when there are invisible elements that receive focus, navigating away from the visible content of the page.
The following video shows what visible focus looks like on a webpage with links.
Tab order is the order in which the tab key will navigate a page. If tab order isn’t logical, a user can easily lose track of where they are. This is especially important with menus and form fields.