WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Initial focus on search field?


From: Don Mauck
Date: Sep 22, 2014 2:47PM

The biggest problem we face is that most developers who don't understand accessibility think that placing focus on the first editable field is a good idea when in fact, it is a bad idea, even for keyboard users. From what I've been told a keyboard can have no cursor focus, that gives them that "flying blind".

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 2:41 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Initial focus on search field?

> If I can't get them to budge on this, how bad would it be to provide a
> hint to screen reader users that there was content before the search
> field by using something an aria live region.

This won't help keyboard users, though, and it won't help magnification users.

For keyboard users, if this is absolutely unavoidable, at least make sure your visual keyboard focus indicator

(1) works (never vanishes into hidden menus, etc. -- more common than you'd think)

(2) is big and bold and obvious. WebAIM's comes to mind, or http://www.deque.com/, or http://www.knowbility.org/ .

For magnification users, I'm not sure what fix would work.

> This is something I've wondered about generally: Are there instances
> where it is best practice to provide invisible hints to screen reader
> users about the way complex sites function or does the extra verbosity
> of this and the possibility that such notices may not be updated as
> pages change, pretty much always make this a bad idea?

The risk here is also that you end up thinking that only screen reader users have accessibility needs, like having skip links which are only available to screen reader users even though one of the major use cases is magnification users.

Deborah Kaplan