Make Content Keyboard Accessible

Ensure all content can be accessed with the keyboard alone and that users who do not use a mouse or touchpad can navigate your content.

Keyboard Accessibility

Keyboard accessibility means that all functionality that can be completed with a mouse or touchpad can also be completed with a keyboard. Many people with disabilities, such as those who are blind or have mobility impairments, rely on the keyboard to navigate through digital content.

Here are steps to take to ensure your digital document is keyboard accessible:

  • Check Reading Order: Verify that the reading order of the content is logical when navigating with the keyboard. The order should follow the visual layout and make sense when using only the Tab key to progress through the document.
  • Provide Keyboard Shortcuts: If your document includes interactive elements, ensure they are operable via keyboard. Clearly communicate any keyboard shortcuts to users.
  • Use Descriptive Link Text: If your document contains hyperlinks, use descriptive link text that conveys the purpose or destination of the link. Avoid generic terms like "click here."
  • Add Focus Styles: Ensure interactive elements on web pages, such as links and form fields, have visible focus styles. This helps users understand which element is currently in focus when navigating with the keyboard. Common approaches include changing the border, background color, or adding an outline to focused elements.
  • Test with Keyboard Only: Regularly test your document using only the keyboard for navigation. This includes tabbing through links, form fields, and interactive elements to ensure a seamless experience.
  • Skip to Content Link: Include a "Skip to Content" link at the beginning of a web page. This allows keyboard users to bypass repetitive navigation links and go directly to the main content.
  • Check Forms and Input Fields: make sure all form elements are accessible via the keyboard. Users should be able to navigate, select, and submit form fields using only keyboard inputs.
  • For Web pages, assign ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) roles: If your document includes interactive content, use ARIA roles to enhance the accessibility of these elements. ARIA roles can provide additional information to assistive technologies by identifying different elements of the page such as toolbar, banner region, alert dialogue, menu, footer region. See ARIA Guidelines for more information.
  • Avoid Keyboard Traps: Ensure that keyboard focus does not get trapped in any part of your document. Users should be able to navigate freely using the Tab key without being stuck in a particular area.
  • Provide Clear Instructions: Include clear instructions on how users can navigate and interact with your document using the keyboard. This information can be beneficial for all users, including those with disabilities.

For more information see: