Keyboard Interface

Some general keyboard interaction guidance

Tab sequence

The TAB and SHIFT+TAB keys move focus from one user interface control to another. The path that the focus follows is known as the tab sequence.

Composite widgets

Some controls themselves contain nested interactive items, only reachable with the ARROW keys. These composite, widget-like controls will have one of two interface types:

Roving Tabindex

Active Descendant

Only one item at a given time exists in the page’s tab sequence.

The arrow keys move this status (and focus) from one item to the next when pressed.

Only the parent/owner is in the page’s tab sequence.

The arrow keys move pseudo-focus from one child to the next; the parent/owner retains the real keyboard focus.

Examples: menu, radio group, tablist.

Examples: combobox, listbox.

Action keys

Most interactive elements are actioned using the ENTER and/or SPACEBAR keys (e.g. ENTER key activates a link).

Escape key

The ESC key offers a shortcut to cancel, clear or close some step (e.g. ESC key will close a dialog).

Scroll keys

These keys can control the scroll position of the current scrollable region, they are: Left Arrow, Right Arrow, Up Arrow, Down Arrow, Spacebar, Page Up, Page Down, Home & End.

Keyboard focus indicator

Interactive elements must have a focus indicator that is visible and distinguishable from the background.

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