W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > October 2014

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

From: Joseph Scheuhammer <clown@alum.mit.edu>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:46:16 -0400
Message-ID: <543FDA38.1010406@alum.mit.edu>
To: Marco Zehe <mzehe@mozilla.com>, public-html@w3.org
CC: W3C WAI Protocols & Formats <public-pfwg@w3.org>
+1

Regarding the proposed changes, there is a need to handle old markup 
that uses tabindex values greater than 0.  A possibility is that 
browsers treat tabindex=1+ as if it were tabindex=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 2014:
> http://www.paciellogroup.com/blog/2014/08/using-the-tabindex-attribute/
>
> 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
>
> -- 
> Marco

-- 
;;;;joseph.

'Array(16).join("wat" - 1) + " Batman!"'
            - G. Bernhardt -
Received on Thursday, 16 October 2014 14:46:47 UTC

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