Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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SCR31: Using script to change the background color or border of the element with focus


HTML and XHTML, CSS, Script

This technique relates to:

User Agent and Assistive Technology Support Notes

See User Agent Support Notes for SCR31.


This purpose of this technique is to allow the author to use JavaScript to apply CSS, in order to make the focus indicator more visible than it would ordinarily be. When an element receives focus, the background color or border is changed to make it visually distinct. When the element loses focus, it returns to its normal styling. This technique can be used on any HTML user agent that supports Script and CSS, regardless of whether it supports the :focus pseudoclass.


Example 1

In this example, when the link receives focus, its background turns yellow. When it loses focus, the yellow is removed. Note that if the link had a background color to begin with, you would use that color rather than "" in the script.

Example Code:

 function toggleFocus(el)
 { ="yellow" ? "inherit" : "yellow";


<a href="example.html" onfocus="toggleFocus(this)" onblur="toggleFocus(this)">focus me</a>



  1. Tab to each element in the page

  2. Check that the focus indicator is visible

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.