Making AddThis More Accessible

Most times when we announce a new feature or improvement, we invite you to take a look. This isn’t one of those times. Instead, this feature announcement is about listening and touching AddThis. We have updated our code to work better with keyboard navigation and screen readers. Now when you visit a site that is using AddThis, you can tab through all of the available sharing options. If you choose to see more options, you can easily filter the list of services and then tab to the one you like. We’ve also added focus styling so if you are navigating with a keyboard, you’ll have a better idea where you are. Also, if you are using a screen reader, you should properly hear the name of the service.

If you’re a publisher you might be asking yourself, “How do I make this available to my users?” It’s easy, we’ve enabled this for everyone. Your site’s visitors are now even more able to share whatever they like, wherever they like.

The key highlights of what we did:

  • Toolboxes are keyboard navable
  • Toolboxes are marked up so screen readers can use them all
  • The expanded menu is keyboard navable and closable with the esc key
  • Graphs and maps in analytics have alternatives for screen readers

At AddThis, all of our users are important to us and we believe it should be as easy as possible for users to share content from their favorite publishers. This is just one step in our continuous journey to make AddThis as great as we can. We have been able to get some feedback from Russell Heimlich and other accessibility experts to help make this happen. If you have ideas or suggestions on how we can give you a high quality experience with AddThis, please get in touch!

  • Hey Aaron, does this upgrade effect the mobile versions as well or is this just for screen readers?

  • michael jensen

    sounds like a helpful tool, im hoping it makes surfing the net easier

  • Very good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  • Nick

    I can see this catching on more now…great job on the updates

  • This is good

  • I really like the addthis because the installation is simple and very light on its access

  • good post,support Making AddThis More Accessible

  • Good news in fact! Thanks for AddThis team for nice things you always bring to us!

  • Great feature. Thanks.

  • goetsu


    can you tell me where can i find this addthis “accessible” script because the online version is totaly inaccessible for example the current code is something like :

    – without href attribute the link can’t be keyboard navigable -> add href=”#” on the link
    – the facebook, twitter, etc logo is a background image, so when the user has turned off picture, disable css or use a user css the image isn’t rendered -> use element with alt attribute specified
    – the link is empty so with a screenreader user can’t know what is this link for -> use element with alt attribute specified

    the option panel use something like :


    – using tabindex > 0 is a wrong idea because tabindex is refering to the whole page not the parent div of the links -> add href=”#” on the link and remove tabindex

    – some link open in a new windows and user must be aware of this -> add ” – open a new window” in the title (if links) or in the alt attribute (if img)

    This is just a quick review of problems with your current script.
    Some other parts may need improvements too


    Aurélien Levy

  • Hi Aurélien,

    The href, and a title attributes for screen readers are added dynamically via javascript at run time.

    The new window notification and removing tabindex makes sense. I’ll ticket those so that we can address it in an upcoming release. Our Latest generation of sharing tools gets rid of the model box which contains the tabindex items, but it does make sense to get rid of them for this generation.

    if you have any other suggestions, please email me at I’d love to hear them.


  • An newsworthy speech is worth report.

  • Anastasia Cheetham

    We have found a problem with the keyboard accessibility of the “AddThis” popup on our site: If you tab through all the share icons and past the end of the popup, tab focus winds up at the start of the page instead of whatever comes after the “AddThis” icon. This would mean that everything after the icon completely inaccessible to keyboard users. Has anyone else noticed this?

    You can see it on our development site:

  • Fran O’Raff

    We have noticed the same problem as Anastasia.Once you’ve tabbed through the “AddThis” box to the end of the share icons, the tab focus goes back to the start,skipping any content that is after the “AddThis”. We checked it in Chrome,Safari and Firefox, but they all gave the same results.

    You can see the problem here:

  • Thanks Fran and Anastasia for letting us know. The team is looking into a fix right now.

    In the meantime, a work around is to add our share counter to the toolbox. To do that, you can add


    We will have the fix out as soon as we can. Thanks again for the report.

  • Lauren Brandstein

    I’m having the same problem: Keyboard tabbing wraps around after the Share menu, leaving the rest of the page inaccessible to keyboard users.

    I will try adding the counter on our dev site (and subsequently hiding it with CSS since it’s not part of the design) and report back. This is a government website, so 508 is a dealbreaker. If the fix doesn’t work, the updated AddThis will be removed and/or replaced with older code we built from the bottom up to be accessible, using the very old “accessible” AddThis URL structures.

    Meanwhile, has anyone else noticed major changes to how Firefox approaches keyboard navigation? I haven’t had to do any specific keyboard navigation work in several versions (I’m on Firefox 12 for Mac right now). Is this how FF works now or am I getting interference from a plugin or something? I can’t get around the page with the tab key; it just jumps between the location bar, quick search bar, seems to focus the entire window contents for one jump, hits some other elements I can’t see/identify, focuses on the one form input (search) on the webpage, then jumps back to the location bar again…

  • Catharine

    Hi, I am working on accessibility of “addthis” and the Facebook Like button renders as “Frame 3” — including on this page. Do you know how this can be fixed?


  • John Wright


    I’m having similar problems Anastasia and Fran. We added the counter, however, now what happens is that the focus goes from the AddThis list popup, to the address bar, then back to the counter.

    It’s proving really confusing for some of users. Any idea how we cn get around it?


  • hi,
    i am facing the same issue, using tab index, i`m not able to tab further addthis button
    please help me with this.

  • Fred

    Has this been fixed yet? I’ve taken over a website with a “+ share” button that seems to have the same tab blocking problems as below

  • Hi Fred, can you clarify? What exactly is the issue you’re seeing?

  • Fred

    As I tab through the page, I can tab to the “+ Share ” button, it opens briefly (actually selecting the facebook option) then closes resetting my current tab location with it. The next tab takes me to the first item in the page. Removing the share button allows me to tab through the full page correctly. I can’t tab to any of the options in the addthis either.

  • Understood, thanks for clarifying. We’ve received this bug report and we’ll be taking a look to see how we can remedy it. Thanks for reaching out!

  • Kristof De Graeve

    We are still experiencing the same problem. Do you have an update on this?

  • Hi Kristof, we can definitely help you out with any problems you’re having. Please send an email to and our support team will take a closer look for you. Thanks!

  • Hi Kristof, we can definitely help you out with any problems you’re having. Please send an email to and our support team will take a closer look for you. Thanks!

  • A very few tools in Social Media metrics are complete, and yours is one such I must say. We did use it for one of our client after this update and had a great feedback.


  • Carol DeLis

    Love AddThis, makes life so much easier.

    One thing I wish it would NOT do is immediately go to the new sharing tab.Many times I want to share more than one place, i.e., my own wall and a couple of groups. Need to STAY on the source until I am ready to leave, MY choice of when. I have several rows of tabs open and very often it is difficult to find the source tab again to either share it again or close it. Please add that option to be able to stay on the source page. Thanks.

  • Paul R

    The default value here should absolutely not be “1”, it should be “0”.

    Setting it to 1 prioritizes the sharing box(es) to the very first tabbed items on any page that does not have explicitly set tabindex ordering. We have some sites with sometimes two or three instances of Addthis on the page, and now as we do accessible reviews of these sites, we are finding that Users are presented with all these boxes before even skip-navigation links or page headings. I cannot see how having the sharing options presented this early is useful to anyone.

    Setting it to 0 makes it reachable by keyboard navigation, but in the default DOM order. I suspect this is what a vast majority of users would prefer. I will be overriding this with your settings object, but strongly recommend, as others have already, that you update the default.