Interactive controls must not be nested

Rule ID: nested-interactive
Ruleset: axe-core 4.9
User Impact: Serious
Guidelines: WCAG 2.1 (A), WCAG 2.0 (A), WCAG 2.2 (A), Trusted Tester, EN 301 549

Accessibility testing for dev teams - No experience required

Find and fix up to 80% of accessibility issues with axe DevTools Pro. Get started with your free trial today. No credit card needed.

Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact


Disabilities Affected

  • Blind
  • Mobility


  • WCAG 2.1 (A)
  • WCAG 2.0 (A)
  • WCAG 2.2 (A)
  • Trusted Tester
  • EN 301 549

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.1 (A)]

  • 4.1.2: MUST: Name, Role, Value

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.0 (A)]

  • 4.1.2: MUST: Name, Role, Value

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.2 (A)]

  • 4.1.2: MUST: Name, Role, Value

Trusted Tester Guidelines

  • 6.A: MUST: The purpose of each link or button can be determined from any combination of the link/button text, accessible name, accessible description, and/or programmatically determined link/button context.

EN 301 549 Guidelines

  • MUST: Name, Role, Value

How to Fix the Problem

Correct markup solutions

Interactive control elements must not have focusable descendants.


Incorrect markup solutions

  <a href="rules/axe/html#">More options</a>

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

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

Nested interactive controls are not announced by screen readers

The Algorithm (in simple terms)

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


Refer to the complete list of axe 4.9 rules.

Was this information helpful?

You have already given your feedback, thank you..

Your response was as follows:

Was this information helpful?
Date/Time feedback was submitted: