3.2.1 On Focus (Level A)

Nothing on a website should automatically change just because it receives focus.

What you need to know

  • The user should be in control of your website’s content and functions. This success criterion speaks to that by requiring that no elements automatically change just because they receive focus. For example, if you tab on the submit button after completing a form, the form should not automatically submit. The form should only submit once you initiate action.
  • An automatic change can be a pop-up, switching focus to another element, or automatically taking action as if the user had initiated action (e.g. clicking a link, submitting a form, etc.) when all they had done was focus on an element.

What you need to do

  • Ensure that your website only responds once the user initiates reaction, never because they shifted focus onto an element.
  • Be sure to investigate pop-ups that show on a website after X event has been detected.
  • Check your website to make sure nothing automatically happens just because an interactive element such as a link, form field or selectable option is tabbed through or on.


Read the full explanation of success criterion 3.2.1 on

Related Resource

Check out “Examples of Success Criterion 3.2.1” from W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative for more information about this success criterion.