Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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G128: Indicating current location within navigation bars


All technologies.

This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to help orient the user by providing information about the current location via the navigational user interface component. This technique is especially useful when the Web pages are steps in a task that must be processed in order. Providing this indication helps the user to better understand his place in the sequence. The location may be indicated by adding an icon or text, or by changing the state of the item.


Example 1

A Web page implements tab panel style navigation. A list of panel tabs is displayed horizontally across the page. The current content is displayed in a panel below the list of panel tabs. When the user navigates to and selects a particular panel tab the content in the panel is updated to reflect the topic of the selected tab. In addition, the background color of the selected tab is changed from the default color and a check mark icon is displayed next to the tab panel text to indicate it is the active panel. The check mark icon includes an appropriate text alternative.

Example 2

The layout for a Web page uses a frameset and frames. One of the frames is designated as the navigation frame and another frame displays the content of the Web site. When the user selects a link in the navigation frame, the information related to the link is displayed within the content frame. The text for the selected item in the navigation frame is updated with an asterisk character to indicate that it is the selected topic.

Example 3

The navigation bar for a site is implemented as a list of links. The navigation bar appears on all Web pages within a collection of Web pages. As the user gives focus to or hovers over a particular link in the navigation bar the background color of the link is changed. This change in styling on mouseover or focus is specified via the cascading style sheet for the Web page. When focus is removed from the link the style is reset to the normal link style. When the link is activated to change the contents of the page, the selected link within the navigation bar is disabled since the result of following this link is the Web page currently being displayed. Changing the background color gives sighted users visual notification of the link to be selected. Disabling the link provides information to all users that it is the currently selected topic.


No resources available for this technique.



When the navigation component is repeated within a set of Web pages:

  1. Check that the user is given an indication of the currently selected item within the navigational unit.

  2. Check that the selected item matches the content which is being displayed.

Expected Results

If this is a sufficient technique for a success criterion, failing this test procedure does not necessarily mean that the success criterion has not been satisfied in some other way, only that this technique has not been successfully implemented and can not be used to claim conformance.

Techniques are Informative

Techniques are informative—that means they are not required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard—not the techniques. For important information about techniques, please see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.