Nested interactive controls are not announced by screen readers

Rule ID: nested-interactive
Ruleset: axe-core 4.3
User Impact: Serious
WCAG: 4.1.2

Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact

Serious
Minor
Critical

Disabilities Affected

  • Blind
  • Mobility

Requirement(s)

  • WCAG 2.0 (A): MUST

WCAG Success Criteria

  • 4.1.2 Name, Role, Value

Section 508 Guidelines

  • Not specified, or not applicable

How to Fix the Problem

Correct markup solutions

Interactive control elements must not have focusable descendants.

<button>Submit</button>

Incorrect markup solutions

<button>
  Save
  <a href="rules/axe/4.3#">More options</a>
</button>

<div role="button">
  Search
  <a href="rules/axe/4.3#">Settings</a>
</div>

Why it Matters

Focusable elements with an interactive control ancestor (any element that accepts user input such as button or anchor elements) are not announced by screen readers and create an empty tab stop. That is, you could tab to the element but the screen reader will not announce its name, role, or state.

Rule Description

Interactive controls must not have focusable descendants.

The Algorithm (in simple terms)

Checks all interactive controls and ensures they do not contain focusable child elements.

Resources

Refer to the complete list of axe 4.3 rules.

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