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Re: [EXTERNAL] set cursor in search box


From: Mark Magennis
Date: Jun 26, 2019 2:49AM

Hi Kirsty,

Placing focus on a field or at any other point on a page on page load is usually not a good idea, partly because as Patrick says, there's a chance of missing important context, but also because it goes against user expectations. Users expect focus to be at the start of the page when it loads. So you should leave it there.

However, there are rare exceptions where it does make sense to place focus at a specific point on the page. This is where you can guarantee that all users will want to go to that point when the page opens. An example is a search results page. When the search results page opens, it will be because the user has just submitted a search and they will want to read the results. You can guarantee this. So it makes sense to set focus to the main page heading which is usually the overall results statement like "Showing 20 of 13,682 matches for Elvis Presley".

Other exceptions occur within multi-step processes such as ticket booking where at each step the user always wants to go to the start of the step instructions or inputs. So it may be helpful to place them there.

This is just my opinion of course and having discussed this with some users (nothing like a representative or large enough sample to draw firm conclusions), I've found some who disagree and would rather it was always left at the top of the page.

So use with care and if possible test it on some users.

Mark Magennis
Skillsoft | mobile: +353 87 60 60 162
Accessibility Specialist

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of Kirsty.Baker
Sent: 25 June 2019 09:19
Subject: [EXTERNAL] [WebAIM] set cursor in search box


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

Kirsty Baker | Digital Services Development and Accessibility Officer
Library Services
The Open University, Level 1, Betty Boothroyd Library, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
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