Understanding WCAG 2.0

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Focus Visible:
Understanding SC 2.4.7

2.4.7 Focus Visible: Any keyboard operable user interface has a mode of operation where the keyboard focus indicator is visible. (Level AA)

The purpose of this success criterion is to help a person know which element has the keyboard focus.

The purpose of this success criterion is to help a person know which element among multiple elements has the keyboard focus. If there is only one keyboard actionable control on the screen, the success criterion would be met because the visual design presents only one keyboard actionable item.

Note that a keyboard focus indicator can take different forms. One common way is a caret within the text field to indicate that the text field has the keyboard focus. Another is a visual change to a button to indicate that that button has the keyboard focus.

  • This Success Criterion helps anyone who relies on the keyboard to operate the page, by letting them visually determine the component on which keyboard operations will interact at any point in time.

  • People with attention limitations, short term memory limitations, or limitations in executive processes benefit by being able to discover where the focus is located.

Resources are for information purposes only, no endorsement implied.

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. However, it is not necessary to use these particular techniques. For information on using other techniques, see Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria, particularly the "Other Techniques" section.

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.

  • Highlighting a link or control when the mouse hovers over it (future link)

  • Providing a highly visible highlighting mechanism for links or controls when they receive keyboard focus (future link)