Have you ever really thought about the different users that might access your website/platform? Does your User Experience (UX) meet their functional standards?
The majority of us use a mouse (cursor) to navigate the web, giving full freedom over manoeuvrability to different areas of a website. However, this isn’t always the case.
Visual or motor impaired users make up just over 1% of general users on websites.
This demographic represents fully blind or poor sighted users and the physically disabled, sometimes making it impossible for them to navigate your site.
Remember, even the coolest looking website is completely useless to someone who cannot access its controls, preventing them from interacting with it.
Not only does this affect the user, but the company’s sales/conversions and moral identity through loss of interaction.
How tab flow helps
Users with visual or motor impairment will find it easier to navigate a website through their keyboard, using the ‘tab key’. Being able to tab through the links means they can do so, one link at a time on a page. The desired result being that they can land on a link of interest and hit ‘enter’ on their keyboard to gain access.
It’s important to have a linear tab structure, following the standard left to right and top to bottom rule. This makes it easier to understand where the keyboard focus is heading next.
Although tabbing through the page can be tedious, especially if there are lots of interactive elements, it makes it possible for any user to reach other areas of the site.
Here’s a few tips of Keyboard Focus and Tab Flow
- The keyboard focus is coded by default into all the common web browsers. It can be customised to fit the style of your website. You should never remove the keyboard focus from a site as this reflects trying to navigate a website without a cursor (frustrating and near impossible).
- Every interactive element of your site should be accessible through tabbing, not just links. For example, a form drop-down, toggles and tooltips. This also includes elements inside forms, allowing a user to scroll and select specific options.
- Tabbing through prioritised page navigation first can be tedious, especially if your site navigation has hundreds of nav items. It’s good UX to have a skip function, allowing the user to drop the focus down onto the row below.
Narrative UX for Speed
Tabbing isn’t just useful for accessibility. Sometimes it just comes down to speed.
We are working with a client that uses a data system platform to help speed the workflow for their employees. Building a narrative tabbing UX so they can fill in forms whilst on the phone was a priority.
This is why we introduced auto-fill drop downs and a linear form structure so they can complete the form quickly using just one hand.
It’s this attention to detail that makes a difference between good and great UX, and why you should consider looking into whether your website/platform meets 100% of your users needs.