‘Focus Order’ requires that components receive focus in a logical sequence.


Your users need to find their way around your website in a sequential and meaningful order. You can control this with the ‘focus order’ of your website.

This is the sequence in which users access components on your website. Users with keyboard-only navigation or screen readers will follow the order you have set, so it’s essential your chosen order preserves meaning and usability. 

How to Pass ‘Focus Order’

Ensure the focus order of each web page follows a sequence that preserves the meaning and functionality of the page.


  • Complex items like tree diagrams do not have to be exactly programmed to a specific order if your users can reach every element.
  • You don’t need to set an order if your page doesn’t need to be navigated in a particular sequence to be understood. For example, a random collage of links or images.

‘Focus Order’ Tips

Unplug your mouse and verify that you can use the ‘Tab’ key to navigate to every part of your website and use every function, including search boxes and forms – make sure each page has a sensible order.

If you have complied with Keyboard, you may have already covered elements of this guideline.

See Also

Free Developer Resources

Join over 3,700 subscribers on my weekly web accessibility email and get free developer resources like WCAG Checklists and special offers.

Powered by ConvertKit

Over 600 developers like you have learned more about the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines with my guidebook.

Learn more >

About Author

I'm Luke, I started Wuhcag in 2012 to help people like you get to grips with web accessibility. Check out my book, 'How to Meet the WCAG 2.0'.

6 comments on “Focus Order (2.4.3 – Level A)

    Richard says:

    A logical focus order is even more important if the focus indicator is not visible for some or all focus areas on a page. Whilst users can add a focus indicator through a user stylesheet, the vast majority probably wouldn’t even know that was possible, let alone how to do it.

      Luke McGrath says:

      Spot on Richard, without the visible indicator it’s something of a guessing game. I can’t understand why the requirement to make it visible isn’t introduced until 2.4.7 at Level AA – I’d merge the two guidelines together and have them at Level A.

    Michelangelo says:

    Yeah, invisible – or barely visible – focus is such a widespread design mistake, and so easily fixed, since most designers are careful about including hover styles…

    Андрей says:

    Hi Luke,

    While I was reading this article I did what you suggesting I started tabbing through this page. I’ve noticed that border doesn’t appear for the elements on the site.

    I’m using Safari 7.0 on OS X 10.9.1 as my primary browser. I have setting “Press Tab to highlight each item on a webpage” turned on in Accessibility settings turned on.

    I’ve checked this in Chrome and see the same problem. If firefox, though, I don’t see border but at leas get cursor set at the beginning of each item on the pigs while I’m tabbing through the page,

    Is there is something wrong with the way my browsers set up or it’s a bug on your site?




Leave Comment