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Has anyone satisfied WCAG accessibility compliance for the search functionality?


Hello all!

I'm reaching out to you, because Atlassian Support provided absolutely no help regarding accessibility, and I was nicely told, "Sorry, we don't [will not] support WCAG compliance. Goodbye." Hoping the community will have better answers or suggestions. 

We are currently running Confluence Server v7.4, and have put a lot of effort into making our Confluence instance WCAG 2.1 AA accessible at the bare minimum. One of the issues we are running into now is the accessibility of the updated quick search modal that came about in Confluence v7. 

With the search, you can tab to the search field and bring up the search modal, as per the normal.  However, you are stuck in the search modal and can't tab out of it, until you hit the 'esc' key. This closes the modal, and everything is great until you realize that the focus/tab order resets to the top of the page. This makes it so you can't navigate past the search by keyboard alone, essentially deeming it a keyboard trap, which doesn't even pass WCAG A (the lowest level). 

Does anyone have any thoughts for ways to close the search modal and continue tabbing to the rest of the page, so that it does not reset the focus/tab order to the top?

I was able to dig up some related information here: 

Any help appreciated! 

3 answers

2 votes

Hi Brandon,

I'm Rebecca Topps, the new customer experience lead on the Accessibility team at Atlassian. 

We now have a dedicated accessibility team at Atlassian, and we are ramping up our efforts to achieve the following: 

  • Align to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 level AA.
  • Provide transparency into our progress.
  • Add accessibility principles within the foundations of our design and engineering standards.

We are aware that we have a long way to go in order to achieve this, and are working with several customers at the moment to report and fix the issues. 

If you want to contact the accessibility team directly to talk further or raise any issues we have a new email address which is - 

Kind regards,

Good morning Rebecca, 

This is a massive pain point. I understand it's a winding road to get there, but my small team managed to cover 95% of the accessibility issues within 6 months. My colleague literally handed over the fixes for parts we were able to cover, yet we still have to retain the majority of fixes from our custom modifications. 

This has been an open task for your team for over a year and a half now. I see the tickets you have open, so that's nice in terms of transparency. However, most of those issues haven't even been touched in over a year. These issues aren't getting fixed. I also understand you have a lot of work going on in your internal side, but that's not very transparent. 

I was thrilled when I saw you bring in a Head of Accessibility last year. I thought things would get better, but it's not proving so. Even better when your support tells me that accessibility has been "parked"... 

I'd be more than happy to work with your team on this. All the tickets found under Improve accessibility by satisfying WAI-WCAG are the result of my team reporting issues, and gotten nowhere. This ticket is also where we dropped all the fixes for Confluence as well, in the comments.

A lot of users, including myself, rely on accessibility compliance whether it be WCAG or Section 508. It also seems I'm not the only who's had issues with Atlassian resolving accessibility issues. 

I appreciate your response, but we need action on the accessibility side. 

Thank you,

Brandon Viertel

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Becky Topps Atlassian Team Mar 21, 2021

Hi Brandon,

It would speak with you when you are available to discuss this more directly on a call.

Would it be okay for you to send your email address to and let us know your availability? Following your email I will set up a Zoom call on a date and time that is good for you. 

We are currently working on a way to be more transparent with the issues we have resolved and are currently working on. It would be great to hear your ideas around this and what we can do to improve that for our customers. Also, I have also passed your feedback onto our head of accessibility at Atlassian. 

Kind regards,

Like Tyler T likes this

Time and time again I bring up accessibility to Atlassian and get the same result, or maybe that's no result. I would like expands to be accessible. Below is part of a message I received from a Confluence Product Designer in August 2020. Still nothing.

Yes - Atlassian has gone full force into accessibility after hearing you and other customers. I'm going to give a high level of things happening here for context, and then after - if there's something specific you have a question about (beyond the expands), I'm keen to know so I can find that info for you.

But first, high level changes:

  • New head of accessibility to help us make this shift, quickly and meaningfully
  • New design org priority = "accessibility is part of our DNA" along with OKR's
  • Images - if this Alt text experience isn't live in your instance yet, it will be very very soon (I'm not on this direct team, so unsure of release dates)

There are lots of other projects and efforts, but I remember image Alt text being of incredible importance
Overall, our mindset has shifted as we've learned, and we can't thank you enough for helping us learn

That's the same response I get too, at least I know it's just me anymore! :) 

Here's a response I received regarding accessibility, about the same time: 

The accessibility improvements that went into confluence 7.4 - 7.7 were part of the a11y project. The project is currently parked and it's not on the roadmap just yet.
During that project, after 4 months (April - July 2020) of work, we managed to smash around 126 issues spread over Confluence Server versions 7.4 → 7.7.
We have 67 improvements pending on our backlog - most of them are editorial issues.

I also wanted to let you know that accessibility is still a priority for us. However, we haven't set a roadmap just yet.

It seemed like they were actually going to make an effort, but turns out it's just been tossed aside again.

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0 votes
Ravi Sagar Community Leader Mar 17, 2021

Hi @Brandon Viertel 

Are you trying with a screen reader?

I believe this page has information related to accessibility and on this page Atlassian did mention (WCAG) 2.1 level AA.

You can try contacting Atlassian for accessibility issues by sending an email.


Hi @Ravi Sagar ,

We test just about everything including screen readers. It's a lot more than screen readers though, from contrast to basic keyboard functionality.

Atlassian, in no way shape or form, has met even WCAG A. I've created countless tickets regarding the accessibility of the application, each met with the same brick wall. There was a period (Confluence 7.5-7.7) in which they made a couple of changes, but for whatever reason fell off their radar entirely.

If you look at any of the public accessibility issues from Atlassian, you'll notice the majority are my colleagues and I. Most of those issues, related to WCAG AA, now sit in the Gathering Interest or Long Term Backlog status, having not even been updated in the last year. Here's the link to those, and you'll notice my colleagues involved all over here: Improve accessibility by satisfying WAI-WCAG 

Hence, my outreach to the community, as Atlassian's provided absolutely no support regarding this. Their support people are kind, however nothing ever gets done about it. 

Any insight into solving the issue with the search?


Brandon Viertel

Like Henri Seymour likes this

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