Controls

✎ Technique: Content on hover or focus

Make it easier for users to interact with added content. Tooltips, drop-down menus, and popups are examples of added content. This new content is usually made visible when you put your mouse pointer over a "trigger" item such as a button or link. It can also display when an item receives focus. Some people have difficulty keeping the mouse pointer over the trigger item. Also, the new content will sometimes obscure existing content. The three requirements of this success criterion, as outlined below, help make the added content more operable.

Dismissable

When using magnification, tooltips or added content can display on top of other information. Unless the newly visible content is displaying an error, the user must be able to dismiss that content without moving the mouse or changing focus. The easiest way to implement this is by providing a keyboard command, such as pressing the escape key, to close the content. The developer can also include a close button within the added content.

Hoverable

Often the new content only displays when the mouse pointer is over the trigger element and disappears when the mouse moves off of the trigger. It can be hard for people with tremors or limited movement to keep the mouse over the trigger element. To remedy that situation, the content must stay visible as long as the mouse remains over the trigger or the mouse moves onto and remains over the new content.

Persistent

This rule combines the previous two. The content must remain visible until the user dismisses it, the hover or focus trigger is removed, or the information is no longer valid.

✎ Technique: Character key shortcuts

If keyboard shortcuts are implemented using only a letter (including upper- and lower-case letters), punctuation, number, or symbol characters, provide a way to turn off or remap character key shortcuts:

  • Turn off: A mechanism is available to turn the shortcut off;
  • Remap: A mechanism is available to remap the shortcut to use one or more non-printable keyboard characters (e.g. Ctrl, Alt, etc);
  • Active only on focus: The keyboard shortcut for a user interface component is only active when...
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✎ Technique: Pointer cancellation

Make it easier for users to operate functionality through various inputs beyond keyboard; however, it is essential that functions emulate a keyboard and that a mechanism to undo or abort an action is provided.

This guideline helps people with tremors or mobility impairments who may touch or click on the wrong location by mistake. This mistake can cause an unintended action. This success criterion also benefits people with cognitive disabilities, who can become confused when something unexpected happens because they activated a control by accident.

✎ Technique: Label in name

People with disabilities rely on interface controls that are used programmatically. These controls have a visual label, as well as a programmatic label, known as its Accessible Name. Users have a much better experience if the visible text labels of controls match their accessible names.

Speech input users can navigate by speaking the visible text labels of menus, links and buttons that appear on the screen. It’s confusing to speech input users when they say a visible text label they see, but the speech input does not work because the accessible name that is enabled as a speech input command does not match the visible label.

✎ Technique: Motion actuation

Ensure that functions that are triggered by moving a device (for example, shaking or tilting) or by gesturing towards the device (so that sensors like a camera can pick up and interpret the gesturing), can also be operated by more conventional user interface components, unless the motion is essential for the function or not using motions or gestures would invalidate the activity. 

Users who may be unable to perform particular motions (such as tilting, shaking, or gesturing) because the device may be mounted or users may be physically unable to perform the necessary movement, should still be able to operate all functionality by other means (e.g., touch or voice input).

Some users may accidentally activate sensors due to tremors or other motor impairments. The user must have the ability to turn off motion actuation to prevent accidental triggering of functions.

✎ Technique: Differentiating controls

Placement of controls affects their ease of use. For example, for a search feature, the “submit” button should be positioned right after the input field. Appearance and positioning are particularly important when providing a control that supports “destructive” actions, such as a “delete” or “clear” button. In these cases, ensure that these controls are clearly differentiated .... Read more about ✎ Technique: Differentiating controls

✎ Technique: Referring to page content by its position

Avoid referring to a button, menu, or other item in the page only by its position on the page; instead, use additional information that describes the content.

Referring to a specific item in the page content by only its visual position prevents people who use screen readers from being able to make sense of this visual description. Another downside to referring to items by their position is that their position might change when the page is viewed at different screen sizes, such as on a smartphone....

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✎ Technique: Using color to convey information

Some people with color deficit have trouble differentiating between specific colors, such as between red and green or red and black. Screen reader users do not access content visually, so they do not have access to color information.

Color is a powerful visual means of presenting or distinguishing information, but when you use color to identify or distinguish information, make sure that this information is still available to people who can't perceive color.

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✎ Technique: Autocomplete input controls

Autocomplete widgets can be helpful for accessibility because they can make it easier to enter text by providing suggestions based on the characters initially typed. This particularly helps people who find typing more difficult and people who may be susceptible to spelling mistakes.

Creating an accessible integrated autocomplete widget is a complex process. You need to ensure that screen-reader users are notified when the list of suggestions appears and that they can enter the list and select an option using the keyboard...

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✎ Technique: Accessible names for buttons

Accessible names are the labels given to HTML elements that can be announced in assistive technologies such as screen readers. They may or may not be visible to sighted interface users, depending on context.

Whether you provide controls using standard HTML elements or create custom controls, ensure that controls are given appropriate names. There are a number of ways to provide accessible names.

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