An efficient keyboard access to Web sites is highly important for many groups of disabled users. However, the current design of most Web sites makes the efficient keyboard navigation nearly impossible. This paper investigates the performance of the keyboard and mouse navigation in Web pages. The comparison is based on the theoretical arguments and on two small studies. The results show that the current amount of keyboard support in common Web sites is far from being sufficient. Typical problems concerning keyboard support in Web sites are discussed, along with possible solutions and the related constraints.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
How often a user locates the current cursor position in a concrete page depends on several factors. For example, the visibility of the cursor position in the page (which is influenced by the actual background color of the page). Another example is the knowledge of the user about the page structure. If a user visits a page regularly and is thus familiar with its structure, he or she will be able to perform a huge number of Tab presses without the necessity to locate the cursor position, i.e., the value for r will be quite high in this situation.
Some of the selected highly accessible sites supported keyboard access by page internal navigation links and keyboard shortcuts, which allow the user to set the cursor focus to special areas of the screen. In addition, they organized their content, in general, in a hierarchical structure, which restricted the number of links per page.
The page which contains the dynamic shortcuts was also used for the condition in which the participants navigated using the mouse. If the user does not enter the page with the TAB key, the dynamic shortcuts stay invisible and are thus not disturbing. For the condition in which the users had to navigate using the TAB chain, the same page was used, but the dynamic behavior was disabled.
Bühler C, Stephanidis C (2004) European co-operation activities promoting design for all in information society technologies. In: Miesenberger K, Klaus J, Zagler W, and Burger D (Eds), ICCHP—computer helping people with special needs. vol 3118, pp 80–87
Card SK, Moran TP, Newell A (1983) The psychology of human–computer interaction. Hillsdale, Earlbaum
Chrisholm W, Vanderheiden G, Jacobs I (1999) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. Available online under http://www.w3c.org/TR/WCAG10/
Coyne KP, Nielsen J (2001) Beyond ALT text: making the Web easy to use for users with disabilities Design guidelines for Web sites and intranets based on usability studies with people using assistive technology. Nielsen Norman Group, Freemont
Disability Rights Commission (2004). The Web Access and inclusion for disabled people. A formal investigation conducted by the Disability Rights Commission. TSO, London
Grappa H, Nordbrock G (2004) Applying web accessibility to internet portals. Universal Access Inf Soc 3(3):80–87
Grappa H, Nordbrock G, Mohamad Y, Velasco CA (2004) Preferences of people with disabilities to improve information presentation and information retrieval inside internet services—results of a user study. In: Miesenberger K, Klaus J, Zagler W, Burger D (eds) ICCHP—computer helping people with special needs, vol 3118, pp 296–301
ISO/TS 16071 (2003). Ergonomics of human-system interaction–Guidance on accessibility for human–computer interfaces. Genf: International Organization for Standardization
IBM Accessibility Guidelines. Available online under http://www-306.ibm.com/able/ guidelines/software/accesssoftware.html
Jacko JA, Slavendy G (1996) Hierarchical menu design: breadth, depth and task complexity. Percept Mot Skills 82:1187–1201
Jani R, Schrepp M (2004) Influence of accessibility related activities on the usability of the business software. In: Miesenberger K, Klaus J, Zagler W, Burger D (eds) ICCHP—computer helping people with special needs, vol 3118, pp 52–59
John D (1995) Why GOMS? Interactions, pp 80–89
Keates S, Clarkson PJ, Robinson P (1998) Developing a methodology for the design of accessible interfaces. In: Proceedings of the 4rth ERCIM workshop. Stockholm, Sweden
Keates S, Clarkson PJ, Coy J, Robinson P (1999) Universal access in the work-place: a case study. In: Proceedings of the 5th ERCIM workshop. Dagstuhl, Germany, pp. 73–80
John D, Kieras DE (1996) The GOMS family of user interface analysis techniques: comparison and contrast. ACM Trans Comput Hum Interact 3(4):320–351
Kiger JI (1984) The depth/breadth trade-off in the design of menu-driven interfaces. Int J Man Mach Stud 20:201–213
Larson K, Czerwinski M (1998) Web page design: implications of memory, structure and scent from information retrieval. In: Proceedings of the association of computing machinery’s computer–human interaction conference, pp 18–23
Microsoft accessibility design guidelines for the web. Available online under http://www.msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp? url = /library/en-us/vsent7/html/vxconaccessibility Design Guidelines for Web.asp
Nordbrock G, Gappa H, Velasco CA and Mohamad Y (2003) Accessibility and usability issues of Internet Portals. In: proceedings of CSUN 2003 international conference technology and persons with disabilities (Los Angeles, 2003). Northridge: California State University Northridge. Available online under http://www.csun.edu/cod/conf/2003/proceedings/322.htm
Powlik JJ, Karshmer AI (2002) When accessibility meets usability. Universal Access Inf Soc 1 217–222
Raskin J (2002) The humane interface. Addison-Wesley, Reading
SAP Accessibility Guidelines. Available online under http://www.saplabs.com/accessibility/guide_eval/guides_checks.htm
Stephanidis C, Salvendy G (1999) Towards an information society for all: HCI challenges and R&D recommendations. Int J Hum Comput Interact 11(1):1–28
UaS Department of Justice. Section 508 of the federal rehabilitation act. Available online under http://www.section508.gov/
Velasco CA, Verelst T (1999) Raising awareness among designers of accessibility issues. In: de Baenst-Vandenbroucke A (ed), Proceedings of making designers aware of existing guidelines for accessibility (INTERACT’99 workshop, Edinburgh, 1999). University of Namur, Namur. Available online under http://www.info.fundp.ac.be/IFIP13-3/INT99workshop-accessibility.htm#4s
Zaphiris P, Mtei I (1997) Depth versus breadth in the arrangement of Web links. Available online under http://www.otal.umd.edu/SHORE/bs04/index.html
About this article
Cite this article
Schrepp, M. On the efficiency of keyboard navigation in Web sites. Univ Access Inf Soc 5, 180–188 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10209-006-0036-x
- Universal design
- Web sites
- Keyboard navigation