Make users aware of status updates away from current focus

For: Development

On focus and on input is best tested using keyboard and screen reader.

On focus (3.2.1 level A)

  • When any component receives focus, for example when tabbing through links, this action should not initiate a change of context, for example a new window should not open, a form should not automatically Submit and a modal window should not open. This would disorientate a user, particularly a screen reader user.
  • An exception would be a dynamic menu on your website, the kind where navigation options drop down when you hover over an item. This is not a change of context.
  • Another example would be a hover status on a link, again, this is not a change of context.

On input (3.2.2 level A)

When a user inputs information or interacts with a control, for example inputting information into a form field, this action should not initiate a change of context, for example:

  • The form should not submit on input of data.
  • The form focus should not move to the next form control once a field is populated with data.

An exception would be if a radio button is selected and if it triggers more form controls (conditionally revealed content) it is not a change of context. Here content is updating.

Activating links, buttons or tab controls does not fall into on input category either. Here the user is taking deliberate action to trigger these form controls.