2.5.1 Pointer Gestures (A)

Success Criterion 2.5.1 Pointer Gestures (Level A):

All functionality that uses multipoint or path-based gestures for operation can be operated with a single pointer without a path-based gesture, unless a multipoint or path-based gesture is essential.

Note: This requirement applies to web content that interprets pointer actions (i.e. this does not apply to actions that are required to operate the user agent or assistive technology).

Intent:

For a variety of reasons including mobility issues and use of assistive technologies, users may be unable to perform complex gestures using either fingers or a pointer in order to activate functions on a website or application. These gestures can include multi-point gestures that ask the user to use multiple fingers, or path-based gestures that ask the user to move the finger or pointer in a certain path.

The intent of this criterion is to ensure that any functionality that is activated through a complex gesture can also be activated through other, more accessible means. Acceptable alternatives include single-click, double-click, and click-and-hold.

Essential Exception

The WCAG 2.1 Understanding documentation provides an example exception where gestures may be essential: drawing a signature on a touch screen on a mobile device. Note, however, that on non-mobile devices without touch screens, web pages use e-signatures that ask you to type, rather than sign, your name, so the pointer gesture would not be essential there.

Who it helps:

  • Users with limited dexterity:
    “You expect me to do that complex hand gesture? Are you kidding me? What is this? The finger Olympics???”
    - Goodwitch Persona Quote
  • Users who use eye-gaze technology to interact with their device.
  • Users who use speech to interact with their device.
  • Users who use a single pointer to interact with their device.

Example: Swipe or tap through a gallery

A carousel of pictures of dogs allows the user to either swipe side to side or tap the side arrows to see new pictures.

The screenshot above shows a gallery of images of dogs, presented as a carousel. To see new pictures, the user can swipe (a path-based gesture) or tap/click on the left and right arrows.