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Visible on focus

Hidden elements in tab order must be made visible on focus.

Rationale

While it sometimes beneficial to provide content to screen reader users only, not all keyboard users also use a screen reader. Having hidden content in tab order, such as <a> or <button> elements, that remain hidden when focussed causes confusion for keyboard users that do not also use a screen reader.

It is recommened to use a clipping technique instead of negative positioning because of problems this can cause in iOS7 Safari, but either approach is accessible.

Techniques

Pass:

<style>
.hidden {
    position: absolute; /* clip only relevant on absolutely positioned elements */
    overflow: hidden;
    height: 1px;
    width: 1px;
    clip: rect(1px 1px 1px 1px); /* For IE6, IE7 */
    clip: rect(1px, 1px, 1px, 1px);
}


.hidden:focus {
    height: auto;
    width: auto;
    clip: auto;
}
</style>

<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/" class="hidden">BBC</a>

Fail:

<style>
.hidden {
    position: absolute;
    top: -999em;
}
</style>

<div class="hidden">
    <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/">BBC</a>
</div>

Tests

 

Procedure Expected Result Type
Tab through all elements in the document. Depending on browser / operating system you may need to activate tabbing through all controls (see Enabling keyboard navigation in Mac OS X Web browsers for OSX) All elements in tab order must be visible when they receive focus Manual


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