WCAG – 2.5.1 Pointer Gestures (Level A)

2.5.1 Pointer Gestures: All functionality that uses multipoint or path-based gestures for operation can be operated with a single pointer without a path-based gesture, unless a multipoint or path-based gesture is essential. (Level A)

Requirements

  • If a feature requires the user of several fingers at the same time, make sure that the user interface offers another way to achieve the same result using just one finger.
  • If a feature requires users to drag a finger along a path that’s more complex than just going directly from A to B, make sure that the user interface offers another way to achieve the same result without needing to do that.

Why is it important?

Some disabled users may need simple inputs or gestures to complete tasks and make selections. Complex movement or gestures requiring dexterity or accuracy may be hard for them.

Benefitted disability types

  • Users with limited motor abilities would benefit with single pointer actions
  • Users with limited cognitive abilities who cannot understand complex gestures and multi-pointer actions would benefit with alternatives when they are well-informed of them
  • Users who use assistive technology such as screen readers may not be able to perform complex gestures as they may conflict with AT’s gestures.

Summary

  • Do not require complex gestures or using more than one finger to do things.
  • Make sure that users can do everything without needing to use multi-touch (like pinching, or swiping with several fingers), or following a complex path with their finger.

Common mistakes

  • Requiring users to perform complex gestures to do things.
  • Requiring users to use several fingers at the same time.

Design Guide

Example:

  • Google Maps uses a ‘pinch-to-zoom’ gesture. But the same result can be achieved by clicking the ‘+’ button.
  • macOS has trackpad gestures that use several fingers. But the same results can be achieved using just the mouse.

References

  1. Explanation of this guidelines by Knowability
  2. Explanation of this guidelines by the W3C
  3. Accessibility Guidelines- Github.io

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