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Give Yourself an Accessibility Test: Don't Use a Mouse

Dec 17, 2018

If you had to, could you move around your favorite website, catch up on the day's news, or complete a purchase transaction without using your mouse?

Many people cannot or do not use a mouse, and instead navigate the digital world with a keyboard, keyboard emulator, or other input device. In fact, keyboard accessibility is foundational to digital accessibility, and it's the responsibility of developers and content creators to make sure everything is accessible using only a keyboard.

Give it a try

Open up your web browser (or better yet, find it and open it using only your keyboard). Then, start to move around using only your keyboard. Get started using the Tab and Shift-Tab keys to move forward and backwards. Explore with the arrow keys. See which controls you can operate using the Enter key and space bar.

For ten minutes, or an hour, or a day, commit to using your keyboard.

  • Are you able to find the information you're looking for?
  • Does your experience change from one website to another? What about one web page to another on the same site?
  • Can you select the links and buttons you want, and get back to where you started if you need to?
  • Do you know what element you're focusing on and what will happen if you select it?
  • Are you getting lost, not sure where you are on the page?
  • What about completing and submitting forms? Can you select the options you want and can you submit your form when finished?
  • What else are you noticing? Are you surprised by how easy or difficult this is?

Of course, a quick simulation just scratches the surface, but by navigating websites or checking out your own website using only a keyboard, you can challenge yourself to get a sense of how important keyboard accessibility is.

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