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Re: Initial focus on search field?

for

From: Jonathan Avila
Date: Sep 23, 2014 6:21AM


> It is an actively terrible thing for this keyboard user.

For pages where the primary focus is searching or logging into an account I find search fields that are auto focused amazingly helpful and effective. Having my focus placed in the field rather than trying to locate the mouse pointer and click is more effective for me.

Without focus being placed in the search or username field the keyboard only user would have much difficulty navigating to the search or username field.

As you and others have said having a visual indicator of keyboard focus is critical and I agree that most pages should not have auto focus unless immediate input is the core goal of the page. Another location where auto focus could be useful is when you are completing a form that has multiple steps on different pages and the next logical action after moving to the next step is to provide input on next page.

> 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".

If focus is not set on a page then there is no visual indicator of keyboard focus either. Pressing tab will take the user to the first interactive element in the focus order. So this could also be seen as an issue for certain people too. In general browsers should provide better keyboard support for keyboard only users -- this has historically been a weak area in my opinion.

Regarding screen reader users, there are keystrokes for screen reader users to quickly jump back to the top of the page such as control+home -- thus screen reader users have methods available to move around the page more effectively than keyboard only users. For keyboard only users, pressing control+home or even home doesn't reset the focused control it merely scrolls the screen. One trick that works in Firefox and IE for keyboard only users is to search for text and then press tab -- this will move to the focus to the interactive control after what was searched for. This trick however does not work in Chrome.

Jonathan

-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of <EMAIL REMOVED>
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 4:51 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Initial focus on search field?

It is an actively terrible thing for this keyboard user. I rely heavily on Mouseless Browsing and keyboard builtins. Focus capture often means I'm blankly dictating/typing my navigation commands, frustrated because nothing is working, and never notice that the wee search box off in the top right has been capturing all of my keystrokes. And yes, cursor focus, when present, is usually very difficult to see.

Deborah Kaplan

On Mon, 22 Sep 2014, Don Mauck wrote:

> 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".