ACCESSIBILITY TESTING: Common Key Combinations Used When Testing Web Pages and Apps

Blue and White Keyboard Tab Key Icons

Web developers serious about accessible design ensure that all web page and app elements — buttons, links, form controls etc. — are reachable by the tab key on the keyboard.


Many users are physically unable to use a mouse, and need to navigate through the page using only the keyboard.

How can you test a website or app using only the keyboard?

Here are some common key combinations used when testing keyboard operation of web pages and apps:

Tab – move to the next link, form element or button.
Shift+Tab – move to the previous link, form element, or button.
Enter – activate the current link or button.
Space – check or uncheck a checkbox form element. Will also activate a button that currently has focus.
Up/Down arrow keys – move between radio buttons or, in some cases, menu links.
Right/Left arrow keys – in some cases, move between menu links or adjust sliders in audio and video plugins.
Escape – Close the current modal dialog or dropdown menu and return focus to the element that spawned it.