Learn How to Create a Collapsible Section

In today’s digital landscape, web design and user experience are of paramount importance. One effective way to enhance user interaction on your website is by implementing collapsible sections. These sections allow users to expand and collapse content, providing a clean and organized interface. In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of creating collapsible sections, complete with code snippets and best practices.

1. Introduction

Collapsible sections, also known as accordions, allow you to present a large amount of content in a compact manner. Users can choose to expand the sections that interest them while keeping the rest of the page clutter-free. This feature is commonly used in FAQs, tutorials, and product descriptions.

2. Why Use Collapsible Sections?

Collapsible sections offer several benefits, such as:

  • Improved User Experience: Users can focus on relevant information without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Saves Space: Especially useful for mobile-responsive designs where screen real estate is limited.
  • Organized Content: Group related information under different collapsible headings.
  • Sleek Design: Provides a clean and modern look to your webpage.

3. HTML Structure

To create collapsible sections, you’ll need a specific HTML structure:

<div class="collapsible">
  <button class="collapsible-btn">Section Title</button>
  <div class="content">
    <!-- Your content here -->
  </div>
</div>

In this code, we use a button to act as the section title and a div to contain the content. The “collapsible” class is used to style the entire section.

4. CSS Styling

Styling is crucial to ensure your collapsible sections look appealing. Here’s a sample CSS:

.collapsible {
  border: 1px solid #ddd;
  margin-bottom: 10px;
}

.collapsible-btn {
  background-color: #f1f1f1;
  border: none;
  padding: 10px;
  text-align: left;
  width: 100%;
  cursor: pointer;
}

.content {
  padding: 0 18px;
  display: none;
  overflow: hidden;
  background-color: white;
}

This CSS code adds a border to each section, styles the button and content, and hides the content by default.

5. JavaScript Functionality

JavaScript brings interactivity to collapsible sections. Here’s a basic script:

const collapsibleBtns = document.querySelectorAll('.collapsible-btn');

collapsibleBtns.forEach(btn => {
  btn.addEventListener('click', () => {
    const content = btn.nextElementSibling;
    content.style.display = content.style.display === 'block' ? 'none' : 'block';
  });
});

This script toggles the display of the content when a button is clicked.

6. Implementing Accessibility for Collapsible Sections

Ensuring accessibility is a fundamental aspect of web development that should never be overlooked. By making your collapsible sections accessible, you create a more inclusive online environment for users of all abilities. Here’s how you can implement accessibility measures for your collapsible sections:

6.1 Keyboard Navigation

Many users rely on keyboard navigation instead of a mouse. To accommodate them, ensure that your collapsible sections can be easily navigated using the keyboard alone. This involves focusing on the following considerations:

  • Tab Navigation: Ensure that users can tab through the collapsible sections and that the focused element is visually distinguishable. This can be achieved through CSS styling, such as highlighting the focused button or section.
  • Enter Key: When a user presses the “Enter” key on a focused collapsible button, the corresponding section should expand or collapse. This mimics the action of clicking the button with a mouse.

6.2 ARIA Roles and Attributes

WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative – Accessible Rich Internet Applications) roles and attributes play a crucial role in enhancing accessibility. By using these attributes, you provide additional information to screen readers and assistive technologies. Here’s how to implement them effectively:

  • role=”button” and role=”region”: Assign the appropriate roles to the collapsible button and the content region. This helps screen readers understand the purpose of each element.
  • aria-expanded and aria-controls: Use these attributes to convey whether a section is expanded or collapsed and to establish a relationship between the button and its associated content.

6.3 Focus Management

When a collapsible section is expanded, the focus should move to the beginning of the expanded content. This ensures that screen reader users immediately hear the relevant content upon expansion. When the section is collapsed, focus should return to the collapsible button.

6.4 Testing with Screen Readers

Regularly test your collapsible sections using popular screen readers like JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver. This hands-on testing will help you identify any potential accessibility issues and make necessary adjustments. Here are a few things to check during testing:

  • Screen Reader Announcements: Listen to how screen readers announce the collapsible sections. Ensure that they accurately convey the state changes (expanded or collapsed).
  • Keyboard Navigation: Test the collapsible sections using only keyboard navigation. Verify that all actions can be performed without the need for a mouse.

6.5 Color and Contrast

Maintain proper color contrast to ensure that your collapsible sections are legible for users with visual impairments. Avoid relying solely on color to convey information. Use text labels or icons alongside color cues to make the experience comprehensible for everyone.

6.6 User Testing

Incorporate user testing with individuals who use assistive technologies. Their feedback can provide invaluable insights into how well your collapsible sections work for diverse users. Make adjustments based on their experiences and suggestions.

By prioritizing accessibility in your design and development process, you create a web environment that is welcoming and functional for all users. Implementing keyboard navigation, using ARIA roles and attributes, managing focus, and testing with screen readers are steps that will go a long way in ensuring that your collapsible sections are accessible to everyone.

7. Best Practices for User Experience

  • Limit Sections: Avoid overwhelming users by limiting the number of collapsible sections on a single page.
  • Clear Titles: Use descriptive titles for each section to provide context.
  • Default State: Keep the most important content visible without requiring expansion.
  • Icons or Arrows: Use icons or arrows to indicate collapsible sections visually.

8. Troubleshooting Common Issues

  • Content Overlaps: Make sure your CSS handles content overflow properly.
  • JavaScript Errors: Check the browser console for JavaScript errors that may prevent the functionality.

9. Conclusion

Collapsible sections are a fantastic way to organize and present content while enhancing user experience. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily implement collapsible sections on your website and offer a more engaging interface to your users.

10. FAQs

Can I nest collapsible sections within each other?

Yes, but be cautious not to confuse users with overly complex nesting.

How can I animate the collapsing effect?

You can use CSS transitions to add a smooth animation when expanding or collapsing sections.

Are collapsible sections SEO-friendly?

Yes, as long as the content is still accessible to search engine crawlers.

Can I customize the look of the buttons?

Absolutely, feel free to customize the styling to match your website’s design.

Is there a limit to the amount of content within a section?

There’s no strict limit, but be mindful of performance and usability.

Leave a Comment