About CIA


Section 1. Keyboard Control

Accessibility Score Sheet Questions

1.1    Can the keyboard be used to navigate instead of the mouse, particularly using the tab, shift-tab, arrows, alt-down arrow, spacebar, and enter keys?

1.2    Are keyboard alternatives available when appropriate?

1.3    Can all actions be executed by using the enter key or spacebar?


Providing keyboard access to a program allows individuals who cannot use a mouse or other pointing device to run the application. This supports individuals with ambulatory or visual disabilities. For example, a person with a disability that affects dexterity may find it impossible to move or hold a pointing device with enough accuracy to activate desired features and will use an alternate input device which typically tabs through screen content. A person who cannot see the screen relies on assistive technology. While this person may have no problems moving the pointer, s/he will be unable to determine what is being pointed to.

Test Approach

If your application only works in FireFox, test JAWS with FireFox. Otherwise, test JAWS with IE. If an item does not work as expected, try JAWS with FireFox. Note the most accessible combination. If JAWS hot keys such as Insert+F6 are not working with FireFox, try disabling Add-ons.

1a. With JAWS turned OFF, start at your home page/state. Set aside your mouse and do the following:

  • Navigate to and through each of your test pages (tab, shift-tab, arrow keys, alt-down arrow for combo boxes, enter, and spacebar should provide a lot of functionality)
  • Complete and submit a form
  • Navigate through a table
  • Use any interactive components (maps, calculators, etc.)
  • Note any pages or sections that you are unable to get to without the mouse.

1b. Repeat step 1a with JAWS turned ON.

2a. Identify if any custom keyboard alternatives are provided or needed. Custom keyboard alternatives should be available for any repeated action where the user would want to return the focus to its current location after completing the action. Examples include Save as Draft and Validate. Visually inspect the interface and note if necessary custom keyboard alternatives are needed and not provided.

2b. With JAWS turned off:

  • Test any custom keyboard alternatives.
  • Test common keyboard alternatives that makes sense for the application: (Ctrl+C: Copy, Ctrl+X: Cut, Ctrl+V: Paste, Ctrl+Y: Redo, Ctrl+Z: Undo, Ctrl+F: Find, Ctrl+P: Print, Ctrl+A: Select All, Ctrl+S: Save).
  • Note any keyboard alternatives that do not work as expected.

2c. Repeat step 2b with JAWS turned ON.

3a. With JAWS turned OFF, place the focus on buttons, on menu and picklist items, and within search boxes. For each, hit the Enter key and confirm that the action occurs. If Enter does not work, try the Spacebar. Note anywhere that Enter or Spacebar does not work or anywhere that they work inconsistently.

3b. Repeat step 3a with JAWS turned ON.

Development Techniques

  • Ensure all executable items are within the tab order
  • Add onfocus to everything that has onhover
  • Add keyboard events for all mouse events
  • Consider actions that a user would take and then immediately return to what they are doing. Where a mouse user can quickly click a button, a keyboard user would have to tab through the interface to click the button and then tab back to where they were. Examples include saving as draft, validating, spell check, refreshing email, etc. Provide keyboard alternatives for these actions.
  • Avoid making text unselectable.

Posted: Jan 07, 2016 12:41 PM
Last Updated: Jan 07, 2016 12:41 PM