So on my web application I have a floating button for back to top that's visible to users after they scroll down the page from the top.

I was thinking whether I should consider attempting crafting the html in such a way that a screen reader would be able to read it and interact with it. My next thought, this seems like a feature that would already be built into the screen reader and that I have no need to outright duplicate it.

Do screen readers commonly have a simple method for executing back to top?

I don't try to explicitly duplicate functionality provided by the browser, e.g. I would never create a "back button" that mirrors the browser back button. (Sadly I've seen many many applications do this)

  • I've only ever refreshed the page to get back to the top when I've been testing with SRs, so that's a good question. The NVDA user guide doesn't seem to have a 'Back to Top' shortcut though - community.nvda-project.org/documentation/userGuide.html. I guess it depends exactly what you mean by 'top'. You could Shift+1 which'll get you back to the H1 on the page. But there's likely content above it.
    – JonW
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 13:43
  • 1
    Does the Home key count?
    – unor
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 17:29
  • @unor i think it would, i wasn't considering that navigation obviously would be done by keyboard. the back to top button is suited for mouse click without having to touch the keyboard. (I would suspect most users aren't aware of the home button entirely as opposed to those who heavily use the keyboard) Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 18:21

2 Answers 2


Screen readers read from top to bottom, they generally split headlines and links into lists and have a top of page command (CMD CTRL + HOME) which is the same as the standard web short-cut buttons for accessibility.

So you're right, making your top of page link is slightly redundant.

  1. To return to the top of page is a Windows keybine: Ctrl HOME
  2. With NVDA, for some reason, and you are located somewhere in the middle of a Web page, refreshing the page (with SHIFT F5) should reload the page and move focus to the top of the page, but for some reason with NVDA, focus stays in place, in the middle of the page. Anyone know why or if there is a setting that would automatically place focus at top of page when refreshing like it works with JAWS screen reader?

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