WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: set cursor in search box


From: jeffgutsell@fuse.net
Date: Jun 25, 2019 10:40AM

I think most screen reader users can find a search field easily enough when
the page makes proper use of form labeling, headings and other landmarks.
I like a well-known site for financial information that does not use
auto-focus on its search control. I can get to that field with one
keystroke when I want to look up info on a mutual fund.

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of
Sent: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 8:01 AM
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] set cursor in search box


I only allow that kind of autofocus if the page basically does one dedicated
thing. A search page where 99% of users want to search, a login page where
99% of users are going to log in, etc.

A page that allows users to do many things and search is just one of them, I
don't allow: with speech recognition your commands are now first initially
trapped in a dictation-oriented box; with screen magnification I usually
have little idea of where I am, how far down the page I am, and now I have
to explore backwards/up the page to catch lost content. Using autofocus to
help with a Call To Action, I also recommend against.

On a page dedicated to logging in, however, for a service that does not also
have forms for creating an account or whatnot, autofocussing can be an
accessibility advantage to folks with poor motor control (depending on how
they're navigating pages). On a login page with speech recognition, it can
be less work for me to log in as I could start out dictating my
username/email without needing to set focus on the input first. At a
previous job, single-use pages which autofocused on the first input was
appreciated in testing with a head-mouse user who easily tired and tried to
avoid unnecessary clicking (though I will not argue clicking an input on a
page is unnecessary, but to her in this testing context it was).

Ideally it's a page that's very clear to you and most others whether it's
really a one-use page, and ideally you can user-test this on people with
various disabilities and methods of interaction. If you find it gets in the
way of some folks then it's a good sign to reconsider autofocus there.


On Tue, Jun 25, 2019, at 10:18 AM, Kirsty.Baker wrote:
> Hello
> If on loading a page with a search box you were to automatically set the
cursor within the search box, would this have a negative impact on
accessibility? One argument could be that this is helpful to users
especially if the main purpose of the site is as a search tool. But on the
other side it could be that this is not what users would be expecting, and
it could possibly have a negative impact on keyboard only users and screen
reader users? I'd be interested to hear views on this.
> Many thanks
> Kirsty Baker