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Re: Disabled elements need focus?

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2017 10:50:25 +0000
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <393586a8-66c1-bf04-2017-fff07fd0834f@splintered.co.uk>
On 14/02/2017 10:23, Rakesh wrote:
> Few of our friends are having different opinions on providing tab focus
> for disabled buttons and links. When a disabled attribute is used
> keyboard focus is not observed on buttons and links in some browsers. Is
> it the expected behavior? One set of people argue that screen reader
> user will never know that the element exist if the focus is not
> provided. The other set of people argue that providing tab focus to
> disabled elements cause additional frustration especially in a process
> where time is a major factor. I have provide some situations where the
> disabled attributes can be observed in general. Any thoughts on the
> topic is highly appreciated.

For me, it comes down to context and information. A sighted user can 
certainly get information by seeing additional controls that are 
present, but disabled. It gives an indication that there may be more 
steps (and how many), that there are other options that may unlock 
depending on choices they make elsewhere in a form, etc. While screen 
reader users *can* find these disabled controls as well by using reading 
keys/navigation, they're less likely to use those while filling out a 
form. So, they are likely to miss these, and therefore likely to not 
receive the same information/hint that a sighted user gets from the 
visible disabled controls.

As such, I'd try to evaluate how much information is lost to screen 
reader users who may miss these disabled controls, and based on that 
evaluation possibly opt to still make those disabled controls focusable.

Patrick H. Lauke

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Received on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 10:50:53 UTC

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