Accessibility Notes Plus

Just a few useful accessibility notes..

Add accesskey attributes to important list items, content areas, and any other key areas of the document.

Use alphanumeric characters as accesskey values, as in this example:

<ul>
   <li><a id="home" accesskey="h" href="http://domain.com/home.html"><span class="accesskey">h</span>home</a></li>
   <li><a id="menu" accesskey="m" href="http://domain.com/menu.html"><span class="accesskey">m</span>menu</a></li>
   <li><a id="search" accesskey="s" href="http://domain.com/search.html"><span class="accesskey">s</span>search</a></li>
</ul>

When an accesskey attribute is present within a link tag, pressing alt+letter on the keyboard is equivalent to double-clicking that link. Generally speaking, the presence of an accesskey attribute within an element brings focus to that element. Thus, radio and check boxes are toggled, links are clicked, and form elements are navigated as the alt+letter combination is pressed.

It is also helpful to provide “skip-to” links that target specific areas of the site. For example, you may wish to enable users of screen readers to skip past or skip to navigational controls:

<div class="hide">
 <ul id="top" class="access">
  <li><a href="#content" title="Skip to Content" accesskey="c">Skip to Content</a></li>
  <li><a href="#navigation" title="Skip to Menu" accesskey="m">Skip to Menu</a></li>
  <li><a href="#search" title="Skip to Search" accesskey="s">Skip to Search</a></li>
 </ul>
</div>

However, due to current lack of widespread browser support, explicit id-targeting may serve better:

<a href="#menu" title="Skip to navigation menu">Skip to navigation menu</a>
<a href="#content" title="Skip to main content">Skip to main content</a>

Another useful accessibility tool involving document meta-navigation is the tabindex, which is a numerical index that represents each element’s position in the tabbing order. By default, certain elements are ignored by the tabindex, while others retain a default order which may be overridden with explicitly stated tabindex values. Consider the following example, in which the tabbing order will be "red", "yellow", "blue", regardless of where the input elements appear on the page:

<form>
 <input id="red" tabindex="1" />
 <input id="yellow" tabindex="2" />
 <input id="blue" tabindex="3" />
</form>

More to come..