My friend Sara Soueidan wrote a detailed article this week on focus indicators: what they do, how to meet accessibility requirements, and how to make them not look hideous.
Imagine you visit a Web site and you want to browse it for some content. You want to buy something; or maybe book a flight somewhere. And as you move your cursor onto the page, it suddenly disappears. Your hand may be still on the mouse, and you’re moving the mouse across the screen and across the page; but you can’t see where it is. You may or may not be hovering over a link or a button or any other form control at any moment. But if you are hovering over one, you don’t know which one it is. You could try clicking and then finding out, but you can probably already imagine what a nightmare of an experience you’re about to get into.
Unfortunately, keyboard users experience the Web in a similarly frustrating manner too often. Their equivalent of a mouse cursor is usually hidden on too many Web sites, making it almost impossible for them to navigate those sites. A keyboard user’s cursor equivalent is the focus indicator. By designing and implementing accessible focus indicators, we can make our products accessible to keyboard users, as well as users of assistive technology that works through a keyboard or emulates keyboard functionality, such as voice control, switch controls, mouth sticks, and head wands, to mention a few.
It’s an excerpt from a detailed course she’s building on a11y called Practical Accessibility.