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>> Tab index is an HTML attribute that you can set on links and form controls. You set a number indicating the order that you want those links or form fields to be tabbed through by the user. It's meant to help users navigate through your page in a logical order if the source order would be confusing. But changing the normal reading order of the page can be very disorienting to your users. This is especially problematic for sighted keyboard users. They may be able to see the next link or form field on the page and expect to be taken there when they next tab, but instead you move them to a new spot on the page.
If they then hit shift plus tab to move backwards, they'll end up selecting the link or form field that is immediately before the one that they have been taken to, not the spot that they were last on the page. So as an analogy, if they started at one and you sent them to three, they might expect to be able to hit shift tab to go back to one, the last spot that they were, but instead, shift tab will take them back in the natural reading order, to two. This is especially problematic for screen reader users. Also, your idea of where the user should next go in the page may not correspond with the user's idea.
They may now want to be taken to a spot further down the page. You may think the natural reading order is confusing when your readers may not. Just as with access keys tab index is the sort of feature which should never be necessary. Using the techniques that we've talked about throughout this title make sure that you structure your documents so that they have a logical reading order so that users can move through them easily and without confusion.
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