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Design annotations are needed for specific instances shown below, but for the standard button component, Carbon already incorporates accessibility.

What Carbon provides

Carbon bakes keyboard operation into its components, improving the experience of blind users and others who operate via the keyboard. Carbon incorporates many other accessibility considerations, some of which are described below.

Keyboard interactions

Buttons can be reached by Tab and selected with Space or Enter.

example of button keyboard interaction

Carbon buttons retain expected interactions.


Icon-only butttons, which do not persistently display a text label, expose their label on hover and focus. When icon-only buttons are used to open menus, they are treated as separate components in Carbon. See Dropdown and Overflow menu.

a pointer hovering over an icon-only button shows the name ‘Close’

Icon-only buttons have their labels exposed automatically on hover and focus.

an activated button reveals 3 options in a menu

Buttons that open menus are separate components in Carbon.

Design recommendations

Design annotations are needed for the following instances.


When buttons do not have a persistently displayed label, they must be annotated with a label that will be exposed on hover or focus.

a button with a pencil icon has an annotation ‘label=Rename’

Annotate the label for icon-only buttons so the proper tooltip appears.

Development considerations

Keep these considerations in mind if you are modifying Carbon or creating a custom component:

  • Where links have been ‘repurposed’ as a button, they need to be coded so the Space key can also activate (since links are only activated by default by Enter).
  • Toggle buttons can be accessibility supported by changing the value of aria-pressed between "true" and "false" or with a change of name that reflects a change in the icon shape (for example: “play” / “pause” )
  • See the ARIA authoring practices for more considerations.