This is an accessibility question:

Screen Reader users can interact with a list of items, something like that:

  • item1 delete item1
  • item2 delete item2
  • ...... ......................

Where should the focus move once a user has deleted an item. The main problem is that focus cannot stay where it was (thus losing context) because the row will be deleted altogether

Please advise where you would put the focus? Also consider we can add other elements such as headers, or "Add" button to receive focus

3 Answers 3


People using screen readers don't have the myriad of context clues available to the sight-advantaged. So context disturbance should be kept to a minimum.

Following the principle of Least Surprise, I would leave the space open with "[deleted]" in it til the cursor moves off the list, at which point the gap can be closed.

I'd also check that with actual users to make sure it doesn't violate some ad-hoc convention I don't know about.


It seems to me that there are three options:

  • Focus on the same spot in the list, but on the new item that has now "slid" into the spot after the deletion. Presumably the list "collapses" and all of the items after the deleted one get moved up a spot closer to the top of the list. If you leave the focus location the same, the new item that occupies that position in the list would be in focus

  • Move the focus to the item before the deleted item. Instead of leaving the focus on the position in the list, move the focus back to the item BEFORE the deleted item.

  • Lose focus on the list altogether and declare focus on some higher-level page element.

I believe that if you go by a more standard database model or list-and-pointer model, if you have a pointer pointing at a position on a stack, and you delete an item from the stack, the pointer remains pointing at the same position, which will now be populated by a different item (option one above). I don't know if that is the best model to use for a visual list, but it does present a precedent that might map to some users' understanding.

I'm not terribly familiar with screen readers (shame on me), but where does the page place focus when the user first lands on the page? Might it make sense to go with the third option above and put the user back outside the context of the list? Or does that imply a lot more work for them to get back into the list?


In the list of values there will be default value like ( select or '-' or ' '). Whenever user deletes focused value then move the focus to default value of the list. Hope this solves your problem.

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