Testing for Keyboard Accessibility

Keyboard Testing on a MAC:

Configure macOS/OS X for Keyboard Accessibility https://webassign.net/manual/student_guide/t_a_osx_tab_config.htm

  • By default, macOS™/OS X® is not configured to use the TAB key to navigate to all items in your browser. If you are using Apple® Safari®, you also need to configure it to use TAB to navigate to all items on the page.

  • Configuration is also needed for Firefox on macOS

  • Configuration is not needed for Chrome on macOS

Common Keystrokes and Interactions




Navigate to most elements


Shift + Tab - navigate backward

  • Keyboard focus indicators must be present.

  • Navigation order should be logical and intuitive.





Enter or Spacebar

Ensure elements with ARIA role="button" can be activated with both key commands.


TAB - Use the tab key to navigation between checkboxes Spacebar - check/uncheck a checkbox

Checkboxes should be used when one or more options can be selected.

Radio buttons

↑/↓ or ←/→ - select an option.

Tab - move to the next element.

Radio buttons should be used when only one option from a group can be selected.

Select (dropdown) menu

↑/↓ - navigate between menu options

Spacebar - expand

You can also filter by typing letters, but this behavior varies by browser. Some will filter as you type, like autocomplete. Others will only sort by first letter. E.g., in a list of US States, hitting A then R may take you to Arizona, or it may take you to Alabama and then Rhode Island.


Type to begin filtering

↑/↓ - navigate to an option

Enter - select an option



Esc - close

  • Modal dialogs should maintain keyboard focus.

  • Non-modal dialogs should close automatically when they lose focus.

  • When a dialog closes, focus should usually return to the element that opened the dialog.


↑/↓ or ←/→ - increase or decrease slider value

Home/End - beginning or end

  • For double-sliders (to set a range), Tab/Shift + Tabshould toggle between each end.

  • In some sliders PageUp/PageDown can move by a larger increment (e.g., by 10).

Menu bar

↑/↓ - Previous/next menu option

Enter - expand the menu (optional) and select an option.

←/→ - expand/collapse submenu

  • Not all menus should have these controls. Simpler menus should usually rely on Tab/Enter.

Tab panel

Tab - once to navigate into the group of tabs and once to navigate out of the group of tabs

↑/↓ or ←/→ - previous/next tab.

  • This is for 'application' tabs that change without loading a new page. If a menu looks like a group of tabs, but is actually a group of links to different pages, Tab and Enter are more appropriate.

  • The tab content should update automatically when pressing the arrow keys. You should not hit Enter to activate the tab.

'Tree' menu

↑/↓ - Navigate Previous/next menu option

←/→ - expand/collapse submenu, move up/down one level.



↑/↓ - scroll vertically

←/→ - scroll horizontally

Spacebar/Shift + Spacebar - scroll by page

Minimize horizontal scrolling.