A1. Difficulty accessing a clickable element

Situation Definition:

A situation that arises from difficulty in accessing an

such as a link, push-button, and widget that activates with a mouse click but not with a keystroke.

Factor(s) Leading to the Situation:

    • Inappropriate labeling:

    • Inappropriate labeling:

    • Inadequate features/functions:

    • Inadequate support:

Guideline or Design Recommendation:

    1. Ensure labels for all clickable elements are understandable
    2. Ensure

      can be activated using a keyboard
    3. Provide instruction on how to access items using a keyboard
    4. Provide a mapping of primary DL functions and designated screen controls to corresponding screen reader commands

Rationale and Objective:

users rely on keyboard functions rather than using a visual pointing device such as a mouse. This situation involves accessing interface design elements without using a mouse or broken links. Some visual/multimedia content or application programs that include widgets only work with mouse actions (1).

features can be helpful for BVI users to recognize the changes of applications/content and access them(2). All links must be operable from a keyboard based on

requirements(3)(4). It is recommended not to use inaccessible apps, such as JavaScript frameworks.

Techniques and Methods:

  • 1.1. Provide meaningful labels for all clickable elements specifying their functions
  • 2.1. Use standard

    controls to build

  • 2.2. Set up a schedule to verify, update, or remove missing or broken links
  • 2.3. Provide a feedback form to enable users to report a broken link or other issues
  • 3.1. Provide tips and/or instruction about how to activate elements by keyboard operations
  • 4.1. Create web applications and interfaces using

    so they will be compatible with screen readers

Recommended Features:

1.1 Meaningful labels (See example 1.1.a and 1.1.b)
2.1.1. Live links (See example 2.1.1)
2.1.2. Keyboard accessible active elements (See example 2.1.2.a and 2.1.2.b)
2.3. Feedback form (See example 2.3)
3.1. Help function (See example 3.1)

-compliant interface and features (See example 4.1.a and 4.1.b)


1.1.a. Meaningful labels: Good design

Match a label with visual function. For example, when a right arrow Next is used for “Next” on a website, put the same meaning label to all right arrow visual elements such as < img src= “arrow” alt= “next”>.

1.1.b. Meaningful labels: Bad design

No meaningful label to help indicate what would happen with this feature. (There is no description or information about the connection between featured content and subject.)
Minus sign icon next to heading "Featured Content"
Minus sign icon next to heading "Subject"

2.1.1. Live Links: How-to example

Verify links and identify dead links using a tool such as WAVE software
Wave software interface with emphasis on empty link, broken same-page link, and suspicious link text errors

2.1.2.a. Keyboard accessible active elements: How-to example

Add CSS “a:focus”  to selectors with “a:hover” to ensure keyboard access.

2.1.2.b. Keyboard accessible active elements: How-to example

Use a simple image-based checkbox widget using tab index to allow keyboard access.

Sample code:

<!- – Without the tabindex attributes, the <span> elements would not be keyboard focusable – ->
<span role= “checkbox” aria-checked= “true” tabindex= “0”>
<img src = “checked.gif” role= “presentation” alt=”” />
Included decorative fruit basket
<span role= “checkbox” aria-checked= “true” tabindex= “0”>
<img src = “checked.gif” role= “presentation” alt=”” />
Include singing telegram
<span role= “checkbox” aria-checked= “false” tabindex= “0”>
<img src = “unchecked.gif” role= “presentation” alt=”” />
Require payment before delivery

Retrieved from https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/Accessibility/Keyboard-navigable_JavaScript_widgets

2.3. Feedback form: How-to example

Provide a feedback form in a DL (Example from Rutgers University)

Report Accessibility Barrier/Provide Feedback Form
Retrieved from https://it.rutgers.edu/it-accessibility-initiative/barrierform/

3.1. Help function: How-to example

Provide a Help function about how to activate element by keyboard operations

Keyboard shortcuts listed for Artstor such as w, Up Arrow for More viewport up and s, Down Arrow for more viewport down
Retrieved from https://library.artstor.org/#/support

4.1.a. ARIA-compliant interface and features: How-to example

When a user clicks “Collection” in “Browse By”, the list of collections under “Artstor Digital Library” is generated, and the list is applied by an

compliant list and each collection heading have a label that describes the number of objects in the collection.

Artstor browse results interface with number of items found listed next to collection

4.1.b. ARIA-compliant interface and features: How-to example

compliant interface (Checked by WAVE)

Search bar with emphasis added to "Search the collection" text in search bar and tag "aria-label="Search the collection""

Related Resources:

    1. Melnyk, V., Ashok, V., Puzis, Y., Soviak, A., Borodin, Y., & Ramakrishnan, I. V. (2014, July). Widget classification with applications to web accessibility. In International Conference on Web Engineering (pp. 341-358). Cham: Springer.
    2. WAI-ARIA Authoring Practices 1.1 (2017) – 5.1 Fundamental Keyboard Navigation Conventions. Retrieved from http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria-practices/#kbd_generalnav.
    3. W3C. (2016). Accessible UI Components List – Frameworks, Snippets, Themes, and Widgets for a Better Web. Retrieved from https://www.w3.org/blog/wai-components-gallery/
    4. WCAG Understanding Guideline 2.1 Keyboard Accessible https://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/keyboard-operation.html
    5. Starr, J. (2016). EZID Introduces Link Checking. Retrieved from

See also:

Help-seeking Situations > Difficulty Accessing Information