Example of Tabs with Manual Activation

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The below example section demonstrates a tabs widget that implements the tabs design pattern. In this example, a new panel is displayed only after the user activates a tab with either Space, Enter, or a mouse click. Typically, manual activation of tabs is only necessary when panels cannot be displayed instantly, i.e., not all the panel content is present in the DOM. For additional guidance, see Deciding When to Make Selection Automatically Follow Focus.

Similar examples include:

Example

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Accessibility Features

To demonstrate the effects of deleting a tab, the third tab, labeled Joke, can be deleted when it has focus by pressing Delete.

Keyboard Support

Key Function
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 tab sequence, which is the tabpanel element.
Enter
Space
When a tab has focus, activates the tab, causing its associated panel to be displayed.
Right Arrow When a tab has focus:
  • Moves focus to the next tab.
  • If focus is on the last tab, moves focus to the first tab.
Left Arrow When a tab has focus:
  • Moves focus to the previous tab.
  • If focus is on the first tab, moves focus to the last tab.
Home When a tab has focus, moves focus to the first tab.
End When a tab has focus, moves focus to the last tab.
Delete When focus is on the Joke tab, removes the tab from the tab list and places focus on the previous tab.

Role, Property, State, and Tabindex Attributes

Role Attribute Element Usage
tablist div Indicates that the element serves as a container for a set of tabs.
aria-label=Entertainment div Provides a label that describes the purpose of the set of tabs.
tab button
  • Indicates the element serves as a tab control.
  • Provides a title for its associated tabpanel.
aria-selected=true button
  • Indicates the tab control is activated and its associated panel is displayed.
  • Set when a user activates a tab.
  • Does not change when focus moves in the tablist.
aria-selected=false button
  • Indicates the tab control is not active and its associated panel is NOT displayed.
  • Set for all tab elements in the tab set except the active tab; the one associated with the currently displayed panel.
tabindex=-1 button
  • Removes the element from the page Tab sequence.
  • Set when a tab is not selected so that only the selected (active) tab is in the page Tab sequence.
  • Since an HTML button element is used for the tab, it is not necessary to set tabindex=0 on the selected (active) tab element.
  • This approach to managing focus is described in the section on roving tabindex.
aria-controls=IDREF button Refers to the tabpanel element associated with the tab.
tabpanel div
  • Indicates the element serves as a container for tab panel content.
  • Is hidden unless its associated tab control is activated.
aria-labelledby=IDREF div
  • Refers to the tab element that controls the panel.
  • Provides an accessible name for the tab panel.
tabindex=0 div
  • Puts the tabpanel in the page Tab sequence.
  • Facilitates movement to panel content for assistive technology users.
  • Especially helpful if there are panels that do not contain a focusable element.

Javascript and CSS Source Code

HTML Source Code