5-2.1 Rationale

Keyboard access is essential for those who cannot use a mouse or another method to interact with a computer. People who are unable to see the screen or accurately control and use a mouse must be able to use the keyboard to access menus, toolbars, windows and dialogs, controls, and other software application and operating system user interface elements.

Operating system platforms use standard keyboard access keys and key combinations - called keyboard equivalents - which must be provided for in software applications. Keyboard access to controls must be provided in a logical order that makes sense to people who are visually impaired. Visually impaired users often explore window controls sequentially instead of scanning an entire window as sighted users would. Therefore, the contents of all application windows and dialogs must also be understandable by people who are visually impaired.