[whatwg] make <video> always focusable and interactive content

Silvia Pfeiffer silviapfeiffer1 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 19 20:43:20 PDT 2012

Hi all,

I recently experimented with keyboard accessibility of media elements.

I found that browsers don't provide a default tabfocus on media
elements nor do they provide keyboard interactivity. I had to put
explicit @tabindex attributes onto the media elements to allow them to
at least receive focus. This is particularly irritating in a

As the video is specified right now, it is not a tabfocusable element
[1] and only interactive [2] when it has controls. This is sufficient
for audio elements, which have no visual representation without
controls, but isn't right for video, which always renders at least a
poster (or a black area). Also, if there are controls specified, they
should actually be tabfocusable.

Even video without controls should allow keyboard focus and should
provide for default keyboard interaction: at minimum it should allow
for ENTER and/or SPACE to toggle play/pause - and clicking on it
should work, too. Potentially it should have up/down arrows to change
the volume and left/right arrows to seek back/forward by e.g. 10sec.
As it's currently specified, browser cannot provide such interaction
when there are no controls, since the element is not generally
specified as an interactive element [2].

[1] http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/editing.html#focusable
[2] http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/elements.html#interactive-content-0

There is also a bug in the W3C wiki for this:


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