ARIA: tablist role

The tablist role identifies the element that serves as the container for a set of tabs. The tab content are referred to as tabpanel elements.

Description

You may be interacting with a tabbed interface as you read this! Browser tabs allow a user have multiple web pages open in a single window. Clicking on a tab in the tablist at the top of the browser window enables the user to display the associated content in the main content area, the tabpanel, one site at a time. This is called a "tab design pattern".

When implementing a tab design pattern, the tab, tablist and tabpanel roles are used.

Tabs are a set of layered sections of content, known as tab panels, that display one panel of content at a time. Each tab panel has an associated tab element, that, when activated, displays the panel. The list of tab elements is arranged along one edge of the currently displayed panel, most commonly the top edge, nested in a tablist element.

Each tab in a tablist serves as a label for one tabpanel and can be activated to display that panel. The tablist is the containing element for the set of tab elements contained.

When a tabbed interface is initialized, one tab panel is displayed and its associated tab is styled to indicate that it is active. When the user activates one of the other tab elements, the previously displayed tab panel is hidden, the tab panel associated with the activated tab becomes visible, and the tab is considered "active".

For a single-selectable tablist, the non-active tabpanel elements should be hidden from the user until the user selects the tab associated with that tabpanel.

When creating a multi-selectable tablist, include aria-multiselectable="true" on the tablist element.

The tab elements not the tablist, have the aria-selected attribute. Set to aria-selected="true" for the tabs associated with each visible tabpanel. The tabs associated with hidden tabpanel elements have their aria-selected attributes set to false.

If the tab list has a visible label, set aria-labelledby to the id of the labelling element. If not, use aria-label to provide a label.

To be keyboard accessible, focus must be managed for the descendants of this role.

Elements with the tablist role have an implicit aria-orientation value of horizontal.

Associated WAI-ARIA roles, states, and properties

tab role

Required Owned Elements. Every tablist must have one or more tab children.

aria-multiselectable

When set to true, indicates the user may select more than one tab from the tablist descendants.

aria-orientation

If the tablist element is vertically oriented, set aria-orientation="vertical". The default ishorizontal`.

Keyboard interactions

For the tab list:

Tab

When focus moves into the tab list, places focus on the active tab element.

When the tab list contains the focus, moves focus to the next element in the page tab sequence outside the tablist, which is the tabpanel unless the first element containing meaningful content inside the tabpanel is focusable.

When focus is on a tab element in a horizontal tab list:

Left Arrow

moves focus to the previous tab. If focus is on the first tab, moves focus to the last tab. Optionally, activates the newly focused tab

Right Arrow

Moves focus to the next tab. If focus is on the last tab element, moves focus to the first tab. Optionally, activates the newly focused tab

When focus is on a tab element in a vertical tab list:

Up Arrow

moves focus to the previous tab. If focus is on the first tab, moves focus to the last tab. Optionally, activates the newly focused tab

Down Arrow

Moves focus to the next tab. If focus is on the last tab element, moves focus to the first tab. Optionally, activates the newly focused tab

If the tab list is horizontal, it does not listen for Down Arrow or Up Arrow so those keys can provide their normal browser scrolling functions even when focus is inside the tab list.

When focus is on a tab in a tablist with either horizontal or vertical orientation:

Space or Enter

Activates the tab if it was not activated automatically on focus.

Home (Optional)

Moves focus to the first tab. Optionally, activates the newly focused tab

End (Optional)

Moves focus to the last tab. Optionally, activates the newly focused tab

Shift + F10

If the tab has an associated popup menu, opens the menu.

Delete (Optional)

If deletion is allowed, deletes (closes) the current tab element and its associated tab panel, sets focus on the tab following the tab that was closed, and optionally activates the newly focused tab. If there is not a tab that followed the tab that was deleted, e.g., the deleted tab was the right-most tab in a left-to-right horizontal tab list, sets focus on and optionally activates the tab that preceded the deleted tab. If the application allows all tabs to be deleted, and the user deletes the last remaining tab in the tab list, the application moves focus to another element that provides a logical work flow. As an alternative to Delete, or in addition to supporting Delete, the delete function is available in a context menu.

Specifications

Specification
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA)
# tablist

See Also