How to enable Tab button recognise new layer content?

Hi folks, I just have a very quick question; a client has asked for a monumental module of theirs be converted to accessible compliance and I have encountered a major problem...

If the user clicks a button to activate a layer with relevant content, the TAB button seems to continue to access all the content on the base layer before finally 'jumping' to the new layer.

How do I force the TAB button to recognise that a new layer has been opened and to begin 'reading' this content immediately?

Apologies if this is very basic and obvious.

13 Replies
Matthew Bibby

Hi Diarmaid,

It all comes down to how you set up the Tab Order. If there are items on the base layer that appear in the tab order list before the items on the slide layer, then the focus will go to them first even if the slide layer has been opened.

You could set the slide layer to Hide objects on base layer, which will mean that they aren't visible (therefore the steps in the tab order that involves those objects will be skipped). The downside of this approach is that it might hide things that you want people to be able to see. There are ways to work around this, but it can be a bit of a pain.

Christie Pollick

Hi, Diarmaid -- Thanks so much for reaching out with your question! The information and tutorials Wendy and Matthew have provided should do the trick, but if you continue to have troubles, I'd recommend uploading your file for closer review. All you would need to do is click on the ADD ATTACHMENT button on the bottom left of the reply box and you will be able to browse from there! :)

Diarmaid Collins

Hi folks. Thanks for the responses. The link to that tutorial is fine but it doesn't really help or assist in my 'real world' situation.

If I am to understand your advice there Matt, if I want the focus to move to the items on the selected slide layer, then these need to appear in the Tab Order list above/before the items on the base layer?

That is what I thought. But there is this link here,, whereby the user does exactly that but the published module doesn't behave as expected, and, unfortunately, Ashley Terwilliger's advice seems to contradict what you suggest (fight! Fight!! FIGHT!!!), so I am a little bit lost.

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Diarmaid, 

I can't say for certain as I don't remember if I saw Belen's file in that thread and she's removed it - or just the image..cause it was a bit ago, and I barely remember what I ate for lunch yesterday! But as I read it now (on a Friday afternoon) it seems that the user had already accessed items on the base layer before the slide layer was shown, and therefore the tab order had started and bypassed those first few items and isn't going to restart. 

What I see Matt saying is that if you've got items in the tab order on the base slide that appear before the items on the slide layer in the tab order and before the layer is opened - those will be tabbed to first. I don't think that's in contradiction to what I said either - just a different set up. 

Ultimately, if you're seeing something that you don't think is working as expected or need clarification- we want to take a look. If you want to share the .story file here we'll be happy to open it and give it a test, or you're always welcome to pass it along to our Support Engineers here. 

Diarmaid Collins

Apologies for the late response but accidentally moved to the wilderness in the meantime.

I realise now that what Matt was suggesting is that the Tab Order should reflect how you want the user to navigate. So that items on the new layer should therefore appear IMMEDIATELY AFTER the relevant button within the Tab Order section.

It is a shame that the tutorial in Wendy's link doesn't illustrate how items on a layer would look in an ideal 'accessible compliant' way (or even a normal, logical way). It simply illustrates Tab Order on a single layer.

All the info provided suggests that layer items are to appear BEFORE the list of items on the base layer. It's semantics and I interpreted the instructions incorrectly (as obviously the person in the link I have above) but Matt has helped clarify the issue for me.

So, for those who are confused, like I have been for a while, all layered items should appear immediately after their relevant base layer links, which can get a bit messy/confusing if there are many layers (almost like a PC tree hierarchy directory structure).

Thanks for all your assistance! :)

Diarmaid Collins

Just as a by-the-way, here is a single page test file with a single paragraph that has a simple Fade-In By Paragraph animation.

If one previews and clicks on the Tab button, the sequence starts on the last paragraph, then the whole block, then upwards from the second last paragraph.

I know I can manually adjust the sequencing or just stop using fade-in animations, but I like fade-ins.

It just seems odd that the default Tab Order starts at the bottom and works backwards.

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Diarmaid,

An accidental move to the wilderness sounds fantastic. :) 

As for the tab order and the paragraph animation, I do see a note that our team is investigating an issue with the tab order going out of sequence in the text box with that animation, but not that it starts by default in the bottom. I suspect that it's connected to the general behavior of tab order in that it's showing things from left to right, but that if the items are stacked on top of one another it will show them in their order within the timeline starting with the item that is the top most on the slide (which would be at the bottom of the timeline list).