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An overview of Figuration, including how to use it, basic templates, examples, and more.


Figuration follows common web standards and—with minimal extra effort—can be used to create sites that are accessible to those using AT.

More to come! Over time, we hope to add more accessibility notes here with links to specific sections from other areas of the docs.


Skip Navigation

If your navigation contains many links and comes before the main content in the DOM, add a Skip to main content link before the navigation (for a simple explanation, see this A11Y Project article on skip navigation links). Using the .sr-only class will visually hide the skip link, and the .sr-only-focusable class will ensure that the link becomes visible once focused (for sighted keyboard users).

Due to long-standing shortcomings/bugs in Internet Explorer (see this article on in-page links and focus order), you will need to make sure that the target of your skip link is at least programmatically focusable by adding tabindex="-1".

In addition, you may want to explicitly suppress a visible focus indication on the target (particularly as Chrome currently also sets focus on elements with tabindex="-1" when they are clicked with the mouse) with #content:focus { outline: none; }.

Note that this bug will also affect any other in-page links your site may be using, rendering them useless for keyboard users. You may consider adding a similar stop-gap fix to all other named anchors / fragment identifiers that act as link targets.

  <a href="#content" class="sr-only sr-only-focusable">Skip to main content</a>
  <div class="container" id="content" tabindex="-1">
    <!-- The main page content -->

Nested Headings

When nesting headings (<h1> - <h6>), your primary document header should be an <h1>. Subsequent headings should make logical use of <h2> - <h6> such that screen readers can construct a table of contents for your pages.

Learn more at HTML CodeSniffer and Penn State’s Accessability.

Screen Reader Only Content

In some cases the design might call for content or layout that works fine for visual users, but screen reader users might need additional context to help with what the content is trying to convey.

Some quick examples would be using icons for layout, or links that might all visually contain the same information (the ever present ‘read more’ links). In both cases a screen reader is left with no context.

Using screen reader only content is a way to provide this context without overloading the visual display.

Some helpful references:

Component Requirements

Some common HTML elements are always in need for basic accessibility enhancements through roles and Aria attributes. Below is a list of some of the most frequently used ones.

Button Groups

In order for assistive technologies—such as screen readers—to convey that a series of buttons is grouped, an appropriate role attribute needs to be provided. For button groups, this would be role="group", while toolbars should have a role="toolbar".

In addition, groups and toolbars should be given an explicit label, as most assistive technologies will otherwise not announce them, despite the presence of the correct role attribute. In the examples provided here, we use aria-label, but alternatives such as aria-labelledby can also be used.

Additional Resources