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Chapter Fourteen. Accessibility Basics > Keeping Tabs: Our Good Friend, the tab...

Keeping Tabs: Our Good Friend, the tabindex Attribute

The XHTML tabindex attribute specifies the tabbing navigation order among form controls. If you don't create a logical tab order, people who rely on tabbing (instead of the mouse) will simply tab from link to link in the order that links appear in your XHTML source. This might not be the most useful way to guide them through your site, particularly if your body text contains numerous links or long-winded navigation that occurs early in markup.

Like Skip Navigation and accesskey (discussed in Chapter 8), tabindex spares screen reader users from the worst aspects of serial navigation, enabling them to quickly skip to content that interests them. Whereas Skip Navigation leapfrogs long lists of links, and accesskey provides command key access (at least theoretically) to various page components, tabindex provides shortcut serial access to various parts of the page—not unlike a DVD's chapter index, which lets movie fans skip ahead to the car chase or back to the love scene.


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