If there is a website navigation with subMenus and some subMenu themselves have their own subMenus. It is possible to fully navigate the navigation with the keyboard through Tab, Enter, and Space keys. However, the menu does not support arrow keys.

Would this navigation meet A and AA WCAG compliance standards or would it additionally require arrow key functionality?

1 Answer 1


WCAG does not specifically say which keys should be used for interaction, just that all functionality of the page be available through keyboard support (WCAG 2.1.1).

In theory, you don't have to support TAB or arrow keys. You could do something funky like press F3 to navigate through the menu and that would technically conform to WCAG 2.1.1. I would not recommend it, but the language of WCAG allows it.

However, it's a best practice that if you use the menu role, along with it's required child roles, that you implement arrow key navigation as noted in the menu design pattern.

But rarely should the menu role be used. It's intended for old-school desktop app type menus (File, Edit, View, etc) and should not be used for standard page navigation menus like you typically see at the top of websites.

Page navigation menus can be kept simple. Just embed all the navigation links in a list (<ul>) and "submenus" in sublists (nested <ul>). The entire navigation should be contained in a <nav>. This allows the user to navigate using tab, which many users are familiar with. Fewer users are accustomed to using arrow keys to navigate but you can certainly implement both tab and arrows.


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