Content Is Not Keyboard Accessible

Short Description

Information or functions are not fully accessible using only the keyboard

Long Description

  • Keyboard accessibility means a user can navigate the whole page and complete all functions without using a mouse. A screen reader user navigates almost exclusively with a keyboard. Many screen readers have a work around function to allow them to manipulate the mouse, but they should not be forced to use this tool, which does not always work perfectly, to access or operate any component of a site or application.
  • If a user cannot operate any slider, button, or other control with a keyboard, it is difficult or impossible for a screen reader to complete that function or access that information.
  • If sub menus that would appear when hovering with a mouse do not appear when a user focuses with a keyboard, then a screen reader user cannot access those navigation tools or information. In addition, if links are coded as menu items, then they do not appear in a list of links many screen readers can produce to facilitate navigation.
  • When messages appear in a location distant from where the keyboard is focused, it requires a screen reader user to complete often many keystrokes to read the message and then return to where they were when the message appeared.
  • Some dialogues appear visually, but there is no way to navigate to it with the keyboard, so a screen reader user cannot access that message with basic keyboard commands.
  • If a screen reader user cannot use the scape key to close a pop-up window, then they are left with a dialogue obscuring part of the screen or excess information they have to navigate through to use the page.
  • Part of the navigation a screen reader user employs on a mobile device involves swiping from one item to the next. This is the equivalent of tabbing with a keyboard. It is important that a user be able to swipe to all parts of the page, even though they have the option to navigate in other ways.
  • Some links rely on a user hovering the mouse over them to make the underline appear. This can be problematic to someone using a screen magnifier who might be using the underlines to scan the content for links without having to read the content in depth.
  • If the focus indicator is disabled, a screen magnifier might have difficulty deciding exactly where they are in the page.

Example of Issue

Screen reader user is unable to access the content in drop down menus that are not accessible



Impacted Assistive Technology

Screen Reader
Screen Magnifier

Impacted Type of Device



  • Use keys such as "tab," "enter," "space, and the arrow keys to make sure every feature of a page is navigable and operable with the keyboard and that it is easy to see where the focus is.