How to test
Keyboard & focus
Manual testing is not difficult or time consuming once a team understands keyboard interactions.
1 Test with the keyboard only
It is crucial to test with only the keyboard first, without the screen reader activated.
Why keyboard testing is so important
- Keyboard accessibility is prerequisite to screen reader accessibility.
- If it doesn’t work with only the keyboard, it won’t work with a screen reader.
- screen reader applications will sometimes cover missing functionality that the sighted keyboard user won’t be able to use.
- Test with a mobile device and a bluetooth keyboard
- Test with a desktop device and a keyboard
- Any major browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox) is acceptable for keyboard testing.
- Note: In Safari, you’ll have to activate tab in Preferences » Advanced » Press Tab
2 How to test
Keyboard testing consists of a few keyboard commands to interact with web experiences.
|Should scroll the screen or interact with form fields
|Moves through the interface focusing on elements that are focusable. For example, buttons and links.
|Shift + Tab
|Moves in reverse through the interface focusing on elements that are focusable.
|Active links and buttons
|Activates buttons and interacts with form elements
|Should close or dismiss widgets like dialogs
3 What to test for
✓ Ensure all mouse functionality is present for keyboard
Identify functionality within the experience that can be operated with a mouse or pointing device. Ensure this content can be accessed with they keyboard alone.
✓ Ensure there is a highly visible visual indication of keyboard focus
Keyboard users need to understand where they are in the interface at all times. The visual indication of keyboard focus (focus ring) should be highly visible and have a color contrast ratio of 3:1 against the background. Verify that overlap items (e.g. cookie banners, sticky footers, sticky headers, and non-modal dialogs) do not obscure the visual indicator.
✓ Ensure that there are no keyboard traps
Ensure that while navigating the experience, you do not encounter situations where you are not able to move forward or backward with the keyboard alone.
✓ Verify that the focus order is logical
In an English-based experience, keyboard focus should move top-to-bottom and left-to-right in a logical order. Ensure focus is not jumping around the experience in a way that makes it hard to understand the content.
✓ On focus does not create a change of context
Ensure that when an interactive element receives keyboard focus that a change of context is not initiated without warning of such behavoir. An example of change of context is a page load or web form submission.
✓ Test for skip links
Where there are large chunks of repeated content, ensure that there are skip links present for keboard users. For example, on a site with a large site navigation system, the first focusable element in the page should be a link that allows users to jump to the main content of the site.
How to test with the keyboard
- 1.4.11: Non-text Contrast
- 2.1.1 Keyboard
- 2.1.2 No Keyboard Trap
- 2.4.3 Focus Order
- 2.4.7 Focus Visible
- 3.2.1 On Focus