Ensuring that a single pointer operable alternative is available for dragging movements that operate on content

Important Information about Techniques

See Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria for important information about the usage of these informative techniques and how they relate to the normative WCAG 2.1 success criteria. The Applicability section explains the scope of the technique, and the presence of techniques for a specific technology does not imply that the technology can be used in all situations to create content that meets WCAG 2.1.


Content using any technology which supports pointer input.

This technique relates to Success Criterion 2.5.7: Dragging Movements (Sufficient).


The objective of this Technique is to ensure that people with motor impairments who cannot carry out dragging movements are presented with a single pointer operable alternative. Some direct manipulation interfaces allow users to pick up targets and move them to another position, for example, to change the position of an item in a priority list in a list, or to change the status of a task in a Kanban implementation (a type of visual process management view which shows tasks in vertical lanes representing process steps such as ‘scheduled’, ‘processed’, ‘completed’).

The single pointer operable alternative may require the user to carry out a series of single pointer interactions (for example, activating a target to be moved; opening a dropdown menu; and selecting a drop destination from the list of menu items offered).


Example 1

  • A list of items can be re-ordered by picking up an item and dragging it upwards or downwards. Other elements move dynamically to open a gap where the picked-up target can be dropped. After a single pointer activation, the list items display up and down arrows which allow a step-wise re-ordering of the the list via a single pointer inputs (taps or clicks at the up or down arrow).
  • A vertical priority list indicates the priority of items listed. Each item can be ‘picked up’ with a pointer and dragged up or down to another position. The other list items rearrange dynamically. To the left of each list item, a number in a text field shows the current priority position. For any of the items, users can put in another number. This leads to a dynamic reordering and renumbering of the priority list.
  • In a Kanban implementation for process management, tasks can be dragged horizontally from one ‘swimming lane’ to another in order to change the status of tasks (for example, to change the status of a task from “in process” to “completed”). One or several items in a lande can be selected by a single tap or click. A single pointer activation of a drop-down menu labelled “Move selected items to” offers a selection of drop targets (other lanes). A further single pointer activation over the desired menu item moves targets to the specified lane.
  • In a Kanban implementation for process management, tasks can be dragged horizontally from one ‘swimming lane’ to another in order to change the status of tasks. A directional horizontal swipe over an item moves it to the adjacent lane. This process can be repeated until the item is in the desired lane.



For interface elements that support dragging:

  1. Check the interface for the presence of functions triggered by dragging movements.
  2. Check that there is a single pointer input alternative to operate the same function

Expected Results

  • Check #2 is true.
  • 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 cannot be used to claim conformance.