The main principles here from an accessibility point of view are:
- all of the page elements should be operable through a keyboard without using a mouse, and
- the keyboard focus should be perceptible and should follow a logical order through the page elements.
This is important for people with vision or mobility impairments. The tab key is not the only method used for keyboard navigation. Depending on the person’s limitations and the type of adaptive technology they use, they might use other shortcut keys instead.
Dave Ebaugh of the Accessibility Angels had begun analyzing the keyboard accessibility of the edit person profile page before the latest changes. His comment to me just a few days ago was … “Most of the problems are solved by removing the tabindex attributes from the 20 focusable elements that have them.”
So I think the latest changes are a step in the right direction, although we might need to do some more testing. I prefer how the new tab order moves directly from name/date fields to the corresponding uncertain/certain radio buttons. This didn’t happen before.
There are some other minor keyboard accessibility issues which we are still exploring, such as:
- some page elements don't have styling to indicate when they have keyboard focus, or the styling is not easily perceptible by people with eyesight issues
- some page elements aren’t reachable using the tab key or other shortcut keys
We will be able to provide further details of these once we complete our analysis.
Ian, Accessibility Angels