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Axe Core Guide

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Axe Core 4.9

Elements should not have tabindex greater than zero

To avoid an unexpected tab order that would appear to miss some components entirely, a tabindex attribute must never have a value greater than 0.

tabindex usage with a value larger than 0 can lead to just as many issues as it fixes. The unusual tab order makes the website less logical and may give the impression that some elements have been completely skipped.

The following are some issues that tabindex (with a value of 1 or above) results in:

  • Unexpected tab order: From the user’s perspective, tabindex alters the normal tab order in unanticipated ways, which could lead to confusion.

  • Items can appear to be skipped entirely: Items only once appear in the tab sequence. When a user navigates through the tabindex items and moves on to the rest of the page, they eventually reach the location of the tabindex items. However, the tabbing cycle skips over these links because the user already navigated past them at the start of the cycle. When visitors are unable to access items and may be unaware that they must cycle through the complete collection of links on the page to reaccess those links, incorrect tab ordering are frustrating.

  • All tabindex items are tabbed to before any non-tabindex items. You would need to set the tabindex value for each and every item through the end of the updated section if you wanted to modify the tab order of the initial items AND of a section further down the page. When taken to an extreme, if a page contains 20 links and one of those links has its tabindex set to tabindex="100", the user will tab to that link first even if there are fewer than 100 links on the page. The tab order of sections further down the page cannot be changed unless all the links before that section’s tab order are manually changed.

What this Accessibility Rule Checks

Makes sure that explicit tabindex attributes that are greater than 0 are never used

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Related Accessibility Rules