JS sliders and the Tab key

Almost every JS slider has one particularly funny bug: the Tab key breaks them. The slider will inevitably break if a link, placed in one of the slides, cathes focus. Some examples on a slider that doesn’t break (oh, the irony):

Broken slider at apple.com
Broken Swipe slider
Broken Steam slider

Here’s the catch: when a link hidden by overflow: hidden catches focus, browser scrolls the content of the block so you can see the link. Yes, blocks with overflow: hidden also have scrollLeft property and they act just like overflow: auto blocks.

To adress the problem, we need to capture the focus events occuring inside of the slides. We then need to switch the slide to one containing the event and reset scrollLeft of the container.

Since focus events don’t bubble, event capturing is used to register them (read about event bubbling and capturing). For older IEs focusein event (which bubbles) is used as a fallback.

Run for each slide:

// IE fallback first
slide.onfocusin = function() {
// Reset the scroll
_this.scrollLeft = 0;
// WebKit sets the scroll after the event, we need
// to reset it with zero timeout. Keep the first
// reset to prevent jittering in other browsers
setTimeout(function() {
_this.scrollLeft = 0;
}, 0);

// switch to the slide containing the event

// Now use the function bound to `onfocusin` in
// a regular `addEventListener`
if (slide.addEventListener) {
// `true` turns on the capturing
slide.addEventListener('focus', slide.onfocusin, true);

We could do fine with just a focusin event, but Firefox still doesn’t support it >:(

“Dots” under the slider should also be keyboard friendly. Not to make a fuss over the solution, it’s enough to make them Tab’able (set attribute tabindex="0") and switch to a particular slide when Enter is pressed.

Also worth mentioning that it’s, of course, unacceptable to turn off the outline for focused dots. But we still want to get rid of it when using a mouse. I use two methods to deal with it: first, get rid of the outline for :active items. No more outline when a mouse button is pressed:

.peppermint.active > ul.dots > li:active {
outline: none;

Second, defocus the item after mouse click:

addEvent(dot, 'click', (function(x, d) {
return function() {
d.blur(); //defocus the dot
changeActiveSlide(x); //change the slide


})(i, dot), false);

Simple and universal addEvent function is used above:

function addEvent(el, event, func, bool) {
el.addEventListener ?
el.addEventListener(event, func, !!bool) :
el.attachEvent('on'+event, func);

This is a shitty way to get rid of the outlines – you shouldn’t reset the focus position. Use this method instead.

Now our slider properly works with the keyboard and seems to meet the requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.