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Navigate using just your keyboard

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Testing your site for keyboard navigation will help ensure that keyboard users can access your site.

As a bonus, sites that can be navigated with a keyboard are more likely to be navigable with other input devices such as switches.

How to navigate a website with a keyboard

Generally, pressing Tab moves focus between interactive elements and pressing Enter will interact with them.

If you are using Safari, Option + Tab is the default keyboard shortcut to move focus between elements. You can update your settings to make Tab the default navigation key by following the instructions in this article: Quick Tip: Safari Keyboard Navigation

Additional keyboard shortcuts are described here: WebAIM - Keyboard Accessibility

Things to keep in mind while testing

It is not enough to simply tab through a webpage from start to end. While navigating the site, keep these things in mind:

  • Interactive elements should be functional using only keyboard input.
  • The focused element should be visible and have an obvious focus style. See article: "Quick Tip: Never remove CSS outlines".
  • Focus should move between elements as they appear on the page and not jump back and forth.
  • There should be a way to skip past lengthy spans of content, like global navigation menus. See article: "How–to: Use Skip Navigation links".

Further reading