Understanding WCAG 2.0

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On Focus:
Understanding SC 3.2.1

3.2.1 On Focus: When any component receives focus, it does not initiate a change of context. (Level A)

Intent of this Success Criterion

The intent of this Success Criterion is to ensure that functionality is predictable as visitors navigate their way through a document. Any component that is able to trigger an event when it receives focus must not change the context. Examples of changing context when a component receives focus include, but are not limited to:

Specific Benefits of Success Criterion 3.2.1:

  • This Success Criterion helps people with visual disabilities, cognitive limitations, and motor impairments by reducing the chance that a change of context will occur unexpectedly.

Examples of Success Criterion 3.2.1

Techniques and Failures for Success Criterion 3.2.1 - On Focus

Each numbered item in this section represents a technique or combination of techniques that the WCAG Working Group deems sufficient for meeting this Success Criterion. The techniques listed only satisfy the Success Criterion if all of the WCAG 2.0 conformance requirements have been met.

Sufficient Techniques

  1. G107: Using "activate" rather than "focus" as a trigger for changes of context

Additional Techniques (Advisory) for 3.2.1

Although not required for conformance, the following additional techniques should be considered in order to make content more accessible. Not all techniques can be used or would be effective in all situations.

Failures for SC 3.2.1

The following are common mistakes that are considered failures of Success Criterion 3.2.1 by the WCAG Working Group.

Key Terms

changes of context

change of:

  1. user agent;

  2. viewport;

  3. focus;

  4. content that changes the meaning of the Web page.

Note: A change of content is not always a change of context. Small changes in content, such as an expanding outline or dynamic menu, do not change the context.

Example: Submitting a form, opening a new window, or moving focus to a different component are examples of changes of context.