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Tooltip and popovers are usually not mouse-only UI elements. If vital functionality or information is contained within them, they should be accessible to keyboard and touch inputs so that users who navigate interfaces without using a mouse are not locked out. This is especially true for people with disabilities such as low vision who rely on screen reader technology to assist them with using an application.

To ensure these users get the best possible experience, Tippy already employs baked-in defaults to ensure accessibility. However, some special consideration should be taken into account when using the library so you can be aware of potential accessibility problems that may arise.

#Use natively focusable elements

Tooltips should only be applied to natively focusable elements like <button> or <input>. If you are using a <div> or <span> element, ensure you add tabindex="0" so that it can receive focus.

#Mouse, keyboard, and touch input

The default trigger for tooltips is "mouseenter focus" This means both a hover via mouse and focus via keyboard navigation will trigger a tooltip. Both of these events also cover touch devices via a tap, with some mobile browsers firing mouseenter and others focus (or both).

#Announcing tooltip content

Non-interactive tooltips give the reference element an aria-describedby attribute once they show:

<button aria-describedby="tippy-1">Text</button>
<div id="tippy-1" role="tooltip" class="tippy-popper">
  <!-- inner elements -->

This allows screen reader software to announce the tooltip content describing the reference element once it's in focus.


Tippy uses two techniques to ensure interactive popovers are accessible:

  • aria-expanded attribute
  • appendTo: "parent"

This means once the reference element has focus, the assistive technology will let the user know it has an expandable popover attached to it.

Once they open it, elements within the tippy can be tabbed to immediately once focus has left the reference element. This relies on there being no more focusable sibling elements after the reference element itself.

Before opening the popover:

<div id="parent">
  <button aria-expanded="false">Text</button>

After opening the popover:

<div id="parent">
  <button aria-expanded="true">Text</button>
  <div id="tippy-1" role="tooltip" class="tippy-popper">
    <!-- inner elements, with focusable content -->

You should wrap the reference element in its own parent element (<div> or <span>) if it's not the only focusable sibling element.

#Clipping issues

Sometimes, this behavior won't work for your app due to clipping issues. In this case, you need to specify a custom appendTo element outside of the parent node context and use a focus management solution to handle keyboard navigation. More details here.