What accessibility considerations should be made for navigation in DITA outputs?

Accessibility considerations in DITA outputs are essential to ensure that all users, including those with disabilities, can navigate and interact with content effectively.

Accessibility is about making content usable by a diverse audience, including individuals with disabilities. Navigation elements in DITA outputs must be designed to accommodate users with various needs, such as those who rely on screen readers or assistive technologies.

Accessibility considerations in DITA navigation include text labels, keyboard navigation, focus indication, skip links, and ARIA roles and attributes.

Text Labels:

Using descriptive and meaningful text labels for navigation links and buttons so that screen readers can convey the purpose to users.

Keyboard Navigation:

Ensuring that all navigation elements are operable and focusable via keyboard input, allowing users to navigate without a mouse.

Focus Indication:

Providing a visible focus indicator for keyboard users to know which element they are currently navigating.

Skip Links:

Including skip links at the beginning of the document to allow screen reader users to skip repetitive navigation and jump directly to content.

ARIA Roles and Attributes:

Implementing ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) roles and attributes to enhance the accessibility of interactive navigation components.


In a DITA-based user manual for a software application, a navigation menu on the side of the page addresses several accessibility concerns:

  • Each menu item includes a descriptive label, such as “Chapter 2: Getting Started,” instead of generic labels like “Chapter 2.”
  • Users can navigate the menu using the keyboard’s arrow keys, and pressing Enter activates the selected menu item.
  • When a menu item receives focus, it’s highlighted or underlined to provide a visible indication.
  • A “Skip to Content” link at the beginning of the document allows users to bypass the navigation and access the core content directly.