This is a request brought to our attention by Patrick Lauke from the TPG. Both VoiceOver on iOS and ChromeVox on Android set focus on buttons and links (but not text fields) when users explore or swipe to them. On the desktop, NVDA does this, too, when the virtual cursor lands on such an element. In fact, NVDA does it with all focusable elements, but because on mobile devices, setting focus to text fields would immediately bring up the keyboard, text fields are excluded.
Reference/research done by Patrick: http://t.co/BObb5THOKC
1. Interoperability with iOS/VoiceOver+Safari and Chrome, and Android/ChromeVox+Chrome, therefore providing web developers with a more consistent experience.
2. Not taking away the ability from web developers to know when an element is focused when user visits their mobile app using FF/Android or Firefox OS.
Any movement on this? It now seems that TalkBack/Chrome have changed their behavior (focusing with TalkBack does NOT fire focus event / apply :focus styles), and the same happens with Windows 10 / Narrator (on desktop and phone/tablet, using touchscreen reading gestures). https://patrickhlauke.github.io/touch/tests/results/#mobile-tablet-touchscreen-assistive-technology-events - so it's only iOS/VO that does this at the moment...
Related: as part of another bug, I've floated the idea to Chrome/TalkBack team https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=657157&can=2&start=0&num=100&q=&colspec=ID%20Pri%20M%20Stars%20ReleaseBlock%20Component%20Status%20Owner%20Summary%20OS%20Modified&groupby=&sort=
At a very high level, the request here is probably "cursor/focus should follow accessibility focus (with slight exceptions/special-casing for touch devices where a 'real' focus on a text entry field or similar triggers special behavior/interactions like on-screen keyboards)" (this would not only apply to Android/TalkBack/Firefox, but possibly more fundamentally on desktop etc as well)
Related, posted a feature request for Narrator/Windows https://microsoftaccessibility.uservoice.com/forums/307429-microsoft-accessibility-feedback/suggestions/16717318-focusable-elements-should-fire-focus-event-recei