Testing Keyboard Support with Firefox


For many users, including users with upper-body motor disabilities and blind users, the keyboard is the only way to interact with and to navigate within a web page or web application. And keyboard accessibility also tends to increase usability, generally, by improving the efficiency of movement through and interaction with an application.

The purpose of the keyboard access testing is to ensure that keyboard users can fully perform all potential tasks and operations accurately and with certainty.

Ideally, application developers should be testing keyboard accessibility during the Quality Assurance phase of application development. Unfortunately, many application developers/vendors do not perform thorough keyboard accessibility testing, and the result is inaccessibility of their application to keyboard users.

In this test we want to find out:

  1. If all user interface controls can be operated with the keyboard only, and
  2. If the element with keyboard focus is styled to make it easily and consistently identified in the graphical rendering.


No additional accessibility testing tool is required, can see the real keyboard behavior in action, doesn’t require deep knowledge of accessibility


Requires manual testing, a little time consuming

Rules Evaluated with this Technique

Rules evaluated with Keyboard Support of Embedded Objects

All links, form controls and other interactive elements on the page must be able to receive keyboard focus (i.e. the TAB key on many browsers).


All links, form controls and other interactive elements (i.e. Flash, Java Applets, Javascript widgets) on the page must not trap keyboard focus.


The functions or actions of the links, form controls or other interactive elements must be operable with the keyboard.


When a links, forms controls and other interactive elements receive focus their visual styling should change to make it easy to identify which element has focus