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Re: Links and Spacebar


From: Murphy, Sean
Date: Feb 3, 2020 5:39PM

Jaws documentation states the enter key activates links. I have to check to see what it states for buttons. But the normal behaviour is spacebar activates buttons and check boxes.
-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of Steve Green
Sent: Tuesday, 4 February 2020 3:51 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Links and Spacebar

[External Email] This email was sent from outside the organisation – be cautious, particularly with links and attachments.

On all Windows browsers (and maybe Mac, but I have not checked), the spacebar scrolls the page down unless the focus is on certain elements such as checkboxes and buttons. That said, I have never seen anyone do this in 15 years of user testing.

If all links responded to the spacebar I don't think anyone would notice. Nevertheless, I am not keen on making exceptions like this, so I would advocate against it. It should be easy to only have the spacebar work with links that are styled as buttons.

Steve Green
Managing Director
Test Partners Ltd

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of Marshall Sunnes
Sent: 03 February 2020 16:32
To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: [WebAIM] Links and Spacebar

*Question*: Is it problematic to allow activation of links with the Spacebar, in addition to Enter?

*More information*: The basic issue I find is that if a user sees something that looks like a button, then it should work with the spacebar for keyboard-only users.
If an app were to correctly identify elements as link or button based on the description listed in the ARIA Authoring Practices 1.1 <https://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria-practices-1.1/#link>, but visually styled links to look like buttons, then would it be an easy compromise to request they simply make all links able to activated with spacebar? Does that interfere with any known AT or user experience? Or is that misguided, and the dev teams need to handle links that look like buttons on a case-by-case basis?


*Marshall Sunnes*
*Senior Digital Accessibility Specialist* NYU IT <https://www.nyu.edu/life/information-technology.html>
New York University
Phone: (212) 998 4417 <+12129984417>