aria-hidden elements do not contain focusable elements

Rule ID: aria-hidden-focus
Ruleset: axe-core 4.4
User Impact: Serious
Guidelines: WCAG 2.1 (AA), WCAG 2.0 (AA)

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Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact


Disabilities Affected

  • Blind
  • Low Vision
  • Deafblind
  • Mobility


  • WCAG 2.1 (AA)
  • WCAG 2.0 (AA)

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.1 (AA)]

  • 4.1.2: MUST: Name, Role, Value

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.0 (AA)]

  • 4.1.2: MUST: Name, Role, Value

How to Fix the Problem

Fix the issue by ensuring the value inside each attribute is spelled correctly and corresponds to a valid value. Use appropriate ARIA roles, states, and properties.

The following examples PASS the aria-hidden="true" elements do not contain focusable elements rule:

  • Content not focusable by default.

    <p aria-hidden="true">Some text</p>
  • Content hidden through CSS.

    <div aria-hidden="true">
        <a href="/" style="display:none">Link</a>
  • Content made unfocusable through tabindex.

    <div aria-hidden="true">
    	<button tabindex="-1">Some button</button>
  • Content made unfocusable through disabled.

    <input disabled aria-hidden="true" />
  • aria-hidden can’t be reset once set to true on an ancestor.

    <div aria-hidden="true">
        <div aria-hidden="false">
            <button tabindex="-1">Some button</button>

The following examples FAIL the aria-hidden="true" elements do not contain focusable elements rule:

  • Focusable off screen link.

    <div aria-hidden="true">
    	<a href="/" style="position:absolute; top:-999em">Link</a>
  • Focusable form field, incorrectly disabled.

    <div aria-hidden="true">
    	<input aria-disabled="true" />
  • aria-hidden can’t be reset once set to true on an ancestor.

    <div aria-hidden="true">
        <div aria-hidden="false">
            <button>Some button</button>
  • Focusable content through tabindex.

    <p tabindex="0" aria-hidden="true">Some text</p>
  • Focusable summary element.

    <details aria-hidden="true">
        <summary>Some button</summary>
        <p>Some details</p>

Why it Matters

Using the aria-hidden="true" attribute on an element removes the element and ALL of its child nodes from the accessibility API making it completely inaccessible to screen readers and other assistive technologies. Aria-hidden may be used with extreme caution to hide visibly rendered content from assistive technologies only if the act of hiding this content is intended to improve the experience for users of assistive technologies by removing redundant or extraneous content. If aria-hidden is used to hide visible content from screen readers, the identical or equivalent meaning and functionality must be exposed to assistive technologies.

Note: Using aria-hidden="false" on content that is a descendent of an element that is hidden using aria-hidden="true" will NOT expose that content to the accessibility API and it will not be accessible to screen readers or other assistive technologies.

The rule applies to any element with an aria-hidden="true" attribute.

By adding aria-hidden="true" to an element, content authors ensure that assistive technologies will ignore the element. This can be used to hide decorative parts of a web page, such as icon fonts - that are not meant to be read by assistive technologies.

A focusable element with aria-hidden="true" is ignored as part of the reading order, but still part of the focus order, making it’s state of visible or hidden unclear.

Rule Description

This rule checks aria-hidden elements do not contain focusable elements.

The Algorithm (in simple terms)

For all user interface components (including but not limited to: form elements, links and components generated by scripts), the name and role can be programmatically determined; states, properties, and values that can be set by the user can be programmatically set; and notification of changes to these items is available to user agents, including assistive technologies.


Other Resources

You may also want to check out these other resources.

Refer to the complete list of axe 4.4 rules.

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