The operability of a website is important for good interaction.

Many visitors use a mouse and a keyboard to navigate the web. Unfortunately, this is not suitable for everyone. Make sure that the functionality of the content does not rely only on a mouse or a keyboard.

  • All functions on a website must be accessible and usable with only the keyboard. Some visitors cannot use a mouse, for example due to a visual or motor impairment. If all functionality can be operated with the keyboard, then it also works with a large number of assistive technologies. Therefore, make sure that components such as links, buttons, navigation, input fields, check boxes, radio buttons, list boxes, and all other interactive features can receive keyboard focus and be used.

    Standard HTML elements for links, buttons and form elements on the website are easily accessible with the keyboard.

    The default keyboard navigation is as follows:

    • The TAB navigates the keyboard focus forward.
    • The SHIFT + TAB navigates keyboard focus backwards.
    • Use the arrow keys to navigate in grouped menus or radio buttons.

    Visitors using the keyboard use the TAB key to navigate through a website. The TAB key moves the keyboard focus to the next focusable item.

  • If visitors can navigate to an item on the page with their keyboard, but cannot navigate away from it, it is called a keyboard trap. To get out of a keyboard trap, it is often needed to use the mouse (or other pointing device) or to completely reload the page. This is not an option for visitors who cannot use the mouse. A keyboard trap can be caused by plugins.

    Make sure it is possible to use the keyboard to navigate all around the page.

  • Some websites allow visitors to use keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard shortcuts make it easier for visitors to perform functions or navigate to a page. This works well for many visitors who use the keyboard but may conflict with some assistive technologies. This can cause shortcuts to be activated unintentionally. This applies, for example, to visitors who use speech recognition software.

    Therefore, make sure that single-character keyboard shortcuts can be customized, disabled, or enabled only when the item has keyboard focus.

  • Some functionality on a website can only be performed with a complex gesture. For example, gestures that require the visitor to use multiple fingers (multi-point gestures) or gestures that require the visitor to move a finger (or the pointer) in a particular path (path-based gestures). Visitors may sometimes, for various reasons, be unable to make difficult gestures with their fingers or with a pointer. For example, due to a motor disability.

    Make sure that gesture-activated functionality can also be activated with a click, double-click, or click-and-hold of the mouse. This can be done by adding simplified controls.

  • Actions triggered by tilting or shaking a device are not easily accessible to some visitors. For example, visitors with a motor impairment can perform these actions unintentionally. There are also visitors who cannot operate it, or cannot operate it properly, because the device is attached to a wheelchair in a fixed position. Gestures to a camera that can interpret the movements also fall under motion activation.

    For this reason, let the visitors disable the motion activation, or ensure that actions that can be activated with motion activation can also be activated with an alternative control.


  • Principle 2. Operable
    • Guideline 2.1 Keyboard Accessible
      • 2.1.1 Keyboard
      • 2.1.2 No Keyboard Trap
      • 2.1.4 Character Key Shortcuts
    • Guideline 2.5 Input Modalities
      • 2.5.1 Pointer Gestures
      • 2.5.4 Motion Actuation