Carousels and slideshows: accessibility for designers

  • Author: Access iQ ®
  • Date: 4 Mar 2015
  • Access: Premium

Quick facts

Carousels and slideshows share several common characteristics with video or media players as they all need to have controls be made accessible to people with disabilities.

  • Users must be able to control the scrolling content in carousels.
  • Text and controls should meet colour contrast requirements.
  • Text must be true text to meet accessibility requirements.
  • Text alternatives for images will depend on surrounding elements.
  • Ensure that all text within the carousel meet colour contrast requirements.
  • Ensure that all controls meet colour contrast requirements and link style and focus requirements.
  • Ensure there is a mechanism for users to pause, stop or hide scrolling content.
  • Ensure there are appropriate text alternatives for all images within your carousel.
  • Ensure that controls have appropriate text alternatives/descriptive labels and that toggle buttons communicate function and state.
  • Mark the reading order of the carousel items, including text and controls.
  • Consider including keyboard shortcuts for carousels that play a critical role in website design and interaction.

Carousels and slideshows are very similar to each other and share many features. Their common features are that they combine images, in a sequence that is often auto-advancing according to a preset time. Whereas slideshows often show a collection of related images, a carousel is often supplemented by text and links to greater details about the item or image displayed.

Carousels and slideshows share several common characteristics with video or media players as they all need to have controls be made accessible to people with disabilities and often fall prey to problems with text alternatives, keyboard raps, keyboard functionality and retaining visible focus.

When designing carousels and slideshows it is important to think all the functions, controls and conditions through in great detail in order to sufficiently design not only the appearance but also the way people will accessibility will use and manage them.

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