Skip to main content

Have you ever tried to access the webpage using keyboard?

12 December, 2018 by Manisha P

Two years back, when I started working in BarrierBreak, the first exercise was to surf a web page using only a keyboard. It was altogether a new experience for me because I have always used keyboard along with a mouse. So, in this blog I will be sharing my experience on how to use only keyboard to navigate through the web pages.

How to Navigate using a Keyboard?

Navigating a web page with a keyboard is quite different from using a mouse. Using a mouse, you can easily identify the clickable elements as you can see the mouse cursor move, and the mouse cursor itself will change the shape when it lands on something that’s clickable. But it’s not so obvious with keyboard. Having said that, we can interact with the web pages and access all the information using a keyboard, only the method of navigation changes.

So, next question comes to the mind is how do we navigate with a keyboard alone. Keyboard shortcuts lets you navigate between elements of the page that are interactive such as links, input fields, buttons, drop-downs, etc. or even scroll through the information.

The following table lists basic shortcuts to access and navigate through webpages using a keyboard:

Keyboard Shortcut
Function
Tab/Shift + Tab
  • Navigate to next or previous interactive element
Enter
  • Activate a link or a button
Spacebar
  • To activate a button
  • To check/uncheck a checkbox
Spacebar/Shift + Spacebar or Page Up/Page Down
  • To scroll the page
Arrow keys
  • Up arrow/Down arrow or Left arrow/Right Arrow – to navigate and select an option in radio buttons.
  • Up arrow/Down arrow – Navigate between options in dropdown menu or list boxes.
  • Up arrow/Down arrow or Left arrow/Right Arrow – increase or decrease slider value
  • Up arrow/Down arrow – to scroll through a page vertically
  • Left arrow/Right Arrow – to scroll horizontally
Esc
  • To close a dialog
Home/End
  • Scrolls to the beginning or end of the page
  • Move to the beginning or end point of the slider

My experience of browsing with a keyboard is of mixed one and it includes:

  • On some sites, I can easily navigate and traverse through web page, whereas, on others I don’t know where  I’m.
  • On some sites, i cannot get at all to access a menu. Whereas, i can easily navigate to the footer section and access the links.
  • While traversing through the page using a tab key, i am able to navigate through the content as it appears visually. Whereas, on some sites it just jumps from one block to another.
  • Although it happens very rarely, i get stuck and there is no way i can navigate past using a keyboard. Only, if i can click on other part of web page i can move ahead.

If a website authors takes care of the above mentioned basic challenges that a keyboard user experiences on the web, surfing the web using keyboard alone will be much delightful experience.

Believe me it’s faster to navigate using a keyboard than mouse. Want to give it a try? Unplug your mouse and try navigating web page with keyboard! Don’t forget to share your experience in the comment box below.

Comments

Not yet commented

Leave a reply

This field is required.
This field is required.
This field is required.