* - Buttons - Insufficient Button Size and Spacing

What the issue is

Buttons with insufficient size and spacing can significantly impede usability for many users. Small buttons or buttons placed too closely together can be difficult to target, especially for users with motor impairments who may have difficulty accurately clicking or tapping the desired button. Touchscreen users and those using alternative pointing devices, such as a stylus, also face challenges when interacting with small or closely spaced buttons.

Why this is important

Ensuring buttons are of an appropriate size and adequately spaced is essential for making web content accessible and usable. A generous hit area improves the experience for users with motor impairments, senior users, and those accessing the web via touch devices. It also benefits users in mobile contexts, where precision clicking may be more challenging. Taking these factors into consideration enhances the overall usability of a website, making it more inclusive.

Who it affects

This issue affects:

  1. Users with motor disabilities who require larger targets to interact with web content effectively.
  2. Touchscreen users who rely on finger tapping to navigate and interact with web pages.
  3. Users with a temporary disability, such as a hand injury, making precise clicks or taps difficult.
  4. Senior users who may have diminished motor control.

How to remediate the issue

  1. Increase the size of buttons to ensure they provide a sufficient target area.  WCAG level AA sets a target zie of 24x24 CSS pixel as a minimum, and 44x44 CSS pixels at AAA. Note that target size is not the same as button size, it is the button sie plus enough space to meet the 24x24 or 44x44 reqirements. See (2) below for more on spacing.
  2. Ensure ample spacing between buttons to reduce the risk of accidental activation of adjacent buttons. An appropriate amount of space depends on the context and the size of the buttons but maintaining a minimum of 8 to 10 pixels around buttons is a general best practice.
  3. Consider touch and alternative input methods when designing interactive elements, ensuring all users can access and use these elements comfortably.
  4. Test usability across different devices and input methods to ensure buttons meet the needs of a wide range of users.

Guidance on sizing and spacing interactive elements can be found at WCAG Quick Reference on Target Size and Touch Target Size and Spacing.

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