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Re: Proposal to change documentation on tabindex to strongly discourage values greater 0

From: Fred Esch <fesch@us.ibm.com>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:28:23 -0400
To: Marco Zehe <mzehe@mozilla.com>
Cc: public-html@w3.org, W3C WAI Protocols & Formats <public-pfwg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OFBF936466.9EEF9841-ON85257D73.004F7E2F-85257D73.004F81F8@us.ibm.com>


                       Regards,                         Fred         
                       Fred Esch                                     
           Accessibility, Watson Innovations                         
    AARB Complex Visualization Working Group Chair                   
                   IBM Watson Group                                  

From:	Marco Zehe <mzehe@mozilla.com>
To:	public-html@w3.org
Cc:	W3C WAI Protocols & Formats <public-pfwg@w3.org>
Date:	10/16/2014 09:10 AM
Subject:	Proposal to change documentation on tabindex to strongly
            discourage  values greater 0

[CC'ing Public PFWG list for info]

Hello all!

This is a proposal to declare tabIndex values > 0 invalid in the spec and
the validator, or at least strongly advise against the use of positive
integers values for this attribute.
Rationale: The tabIndex attribute is used to make items focusable with the
keyboard and programmatically. Currently, it takes three classes of values:
      0: The element is made focusable, and it is integrated into the tab
      order at its location in the DOM.
      -1: The element is made focusable, but is skipped in the tab order,
      but can still take focus programmatically.
      > 0: The items are put in the tab order first, and their order is
      determined by the actual value. Only if all those elements have been
      traversed via tab, does the order in the DOM take effect.

This third class of values has in the past lead to nothing but frustration
among web developers and keyboard users, judging from feedback I get in my
day to day accessibility work. Due to author error, which mostly stems from
lack of awareness, tab order on many sites that use tabIndex improperly is
erratic and not user-friendly. For further reading on this, I suggest a
post published on the Paciello Group blog by Léonie Watson in August of

Proposed changes:
   1.	Include explicit advice to not use tabIndex with a value greater than
      0 in the next version of the documentation.
   2.	Change the W3C validator to spit out an error on tabIndex values
      other than 0 and -1.

Associated bug: https://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=27076


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Received on Thursday, 16 October 2014 14:28:58 UTC

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