Future Media Standards & Guidelines

Keyboard Access Standards v1.3

1. Introduction

1.1. Keyboard access to active elements of a page is important for many users who cannot use a pointing device (mouse) to navigate around the page.

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2. Tabbing

2.1. All functionality on all BBC websites and services MUST be fully controllable using the keyboard alone.

2.2. Users MUST be able to use any rich media object on the web page solely using two key tabbing. This is for the benefit of switch users.

2.2.1. If you are developing a game, contact the Usability and Accessibility team in UX&D for advice on how best to do this.

2.3. In addition, you MUST ensure that if and when a user has tabbed to an interactive (clickable) element outside of the visible area (for example, the stage in Flash — see description below) the interactive element comes into view. You can achieve this by either moving the element, or by moving the focus of the stage to bring the element into view.

  • This is to ensure that users who tab to non-visible areas do not lose their way on the site.
  • A "stage" is the visible area of a Flash movie. Refer to the Multimedia Accessibility Standards for further information about implementing Flash on BBC websites.

2.4. Your pages MUST provide a logical tab order through links, form controls and objects, to increase the pages' ease of navigation via the keyboard.

2.5. A logical tab order is one which makes sense when the layout is removed when vocalised by a screen reader – for example, elements which need to be read together (a heading and list of options, or a paragraph of text around an image) should be coded such that they are vocalised together rather than broken up by other elements.

2.5.1. For HTML pages, you MUST do this in the way you code the page design in HTML.

2.5.2. You MUST NOT use a positive tabindex value. You MAY use a tabindex of 0 or -1 under certain circumstances where this can increase the accessibility of your Javascript. For further clarification, see W3C HTML 4.0 recommendations and also draft W3C HTML 5.0 recommendations and W3C Aria recommendations.

2.5.3. For Flash (v7 and later) content, you MUST do this via .tabindex values in the animation's ActionScript. For further information, see Using Flash to enter accessibility information for screen readers.

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3. Keyboard shortcuts

3.1. You SHOULD include keyboard shortcuts to enable keyboard users to jump more quickly around the interface using the keyboard.

3.1.1. These keyboard shortcuts MUST NOT clash with keyboard shortcuts used in the BBC’s supported screenreaders — you SHOULD contact the Usability and Accessibility Team in Central UX&D for advice on this issue.

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