Elements should not have tabindex greater than zero

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Rule Description

A tabindex attribute must never have a value greater than 0 to prevent an unexpected tab order that can give the appearance of skipping some elements entirely.

The Algorithm, in Simple Terms

Ensures that explicit tabindex attributes that are greater than 0 are never used

Why this is Important

Using tabindex with a value greater than 0 can create as many problems as it solves. It creates an unexpected tab order, which makes the page less intuitive and can give the appearance of skipping certain elements entirely.

How to Fix the Problem

There are two main ways to avoid using tabindex with a value greater than 0. The first method is to change the tabindex to 0. Note that this may change the order in which the user tabs through the elements. The second method is to remove the tabindex entirely and modify the structure of the page so that a user tabbing through elements will reach them in the order initially desired.

Compliance Data & User Impact

User Impact: Serious
Disabilities Affected:
  • Blindness
  • Deafblindness
  • Mobility/Dexterity
Issue Type:
  • Deque Best Practice
WCAG Success Criteria:
  • Not applicable
Section 508 Guidelines:
  • Not applicable

Related Deque University Course Pages

Other Related Resources

Additional Information

Relevant Technologies:
  • HTML 4
  • HTML 5
Test Reliability: Automated testing is possible, with high accuracy
Rule ID: tabindex