Great article! My one nitpick, is overriding the left/right keys to cycle the tabs going to be annoying for some users? For instance, Voice Over on Mac uses left/right to cycle through all the page content, so a user might reasonably expect that the open tab would stay selected until they explicitly changed it. Having said that, I haven't done testing with blind users to find out what their preferences are.
Once you tab past the tablist the left and right key start working as normal.
It's actually part of the aria spec to do so, which is why I included it. But different users may feel differently about it.
Do you think I should include a link to this in my keyboard support section?
EDIT: I've added a reference to the w3 page now
Yeah, it was incredibly weird for me too.
I'd expect them to maybe change the focused tab, but not actually activate it?
How do I read the tab title without activating it?
You can use the tab key to move only the focus, which will read the tab title and tell you whether it's active or not. Then you can press either space or return to activate that tab.
Sorry, I was also referring to the examples at w3.org.
The one you linked as These keyboard requirements can be found here was Example of Tabs with Automatic Activation, but there was also Example of Tabs with Manual Activation
where indeed you need to press Space or Return.
However, in both of those, the whole tab bar is a single Tab target, as in "you focus the whole thing and the next Tab press takes you out of it entirely".
Sort of like if it was a slider input or something of the sort.
That makes a lot of sense actually. There are so many websites with poor accessibility, I often wonder how that has impacted user expectations and if they differ from the standards.
We're a place where coders share, stay up-to-date and grow their careers.
We strive for transparency and don't collect excess data.