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ARIA and HTML5

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2008 00:50:43 +0000 (UTC)
To: public-pfwg-comments@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0803282346540.29372@hixie.dreamhostps.com>


Hi,

I've been asked to send some comments to this list about the prospects of 
integrating ARIA in HTML5.

I think there are two issues that could prevent HTML5 from adopting ARIA.

The first is lack of clear normative conformance criteria. The exact 
semantics of the ARIA features must be described in detail. It is not 
sufficient to say that the feature maps to an accessibility API. For 
example, if ARIA includes a way of defining that an element is a header, 
the specification must define exactly what it is a header of. HTML5 does 
this, for instance, when defining in detail the semantics of the headers 
and sectioning elements:

   http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/section-sections.html#headings

This has to be done for everything. Is something a table? What's the table 
model? Is something defining the relationship between a control and a 
label? What is the exact mapping? What happens when there's more than one 
label, or a label maps to more than one control? Everything must be 
defined in excruciating detail.

The second issue is conflicts with existing features. For example, if ARIA 
defines a feature to say that something is a header, this will conflict 
with the HTML5 header algorithm. If something defines that an element is a 
radio button, but that something is applied to a checkbox control, then we 
have a problem where some users will get a different behaviour than other 
users, which fundamentally doesn't solve the accessibility problem we are 
trying to solve, it just makes it worse.

Cheers,
-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Saturday, 29 March 2008 00:51:21 UTC

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