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Comments for ARIA WAI-ARIA 1.0 ( W3C Working Draft of December 15, 2009 )

From: Ali Ghassemi <ali.ghassemi@desire2learn.com>
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2010 12:45:53 -0500
To: "'public-pfwg-comments@w3.org'" <public-pfwg-comments@w3.org>
Message-ID: <B27B7B082E72D6478E532E24F3600DAA3D5A5E6E01@D2LMAIL.desire2learn.d2l>

I would like to submit some comments regarding the ARIA WAI-ARIA 1.0. These comments apply to the W3C Working Draft of December 15, 2009 ( http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria/ )
The main focus of my comments concern ARIA support for List and ListItem roles.


Lack of adequate support for widgets like DataList (ListView) in ARIA. These types of widgets present complex data within list items in a similar way that a Grid does however they are actually Lists and not a Table. These types of widgets are becoming a popular way of presenting data other than a Grid and they need to support states and properties such as single-selection, multi-selection, expanded, selected and levels to support hierarchy.
Examples of such widgets include:

1-      (complex data presentation, no selection, no hierarchy ): Items returned by searching for an image in a search engine. Each result is a ListItem with a primary text as the name of the image and includes more information about the image ( size, date, type) within the same ListItem and also has some actions ( link to find similar images, etc..) also part of the item or the entire item could be a link and when activated user is taken to another screen with more information about the item

2-      (complex data presentation, with selection): Similar to 1 however one (or more items ) can be "selected". Examples of these widgets could be a list showing pictures of your friends ( each with additional information about the friend and possibly actions like "go to profile", "add to favourites, etc..) where you "select" one or more of your friends to send an invite for example. Selection could be single or multiple. Also each item needs to have the "selected" state in case the widget is loaded with your previous selections or default selected items.

3-      ( complex data presentation with hierarchy and possibly selection). Similar to 1 or 2 but lists are nested to present hierarchy and parent items can be expanded or collapsed. The ARIA Tree widget works in a similar way but will not suffice when the Tree nodes present complex data ( with actions, additional information, etc..). Examples of such interfaces could be the example given in 1 but where items are grouped into categories which can be collapsed or expanded.

These types of widgets should normally be created using HTML's "UL" and "LI" however HTML  UL and LI lack the following states: 1- Expanded,Collapsed state, Selected state, multi-selectable or single-selectable properties and AT's normally do not announce levels for nested UL/LIs

ARIA's List and ListItem seem to be meant for simple non-interacting lists and they do not support selection state properties; also support for presentation of complex data lacks in ListItem role. ARIA's Combobox which inherits from list does support selection but it's still meant for simple data presentation and does not fit the widgets like DataList ( ListView )

As of now the only way to display complex data is through a "Grid" which is not ideal for many cases. Therefore I suggest adding a new Role named "ListView" or "DataList" for these kinds of widgets with support for states and properties mentioned above.

Thank you,
Ali Ghassemi
Senior Software Developer
Desire2Learn Incorporated
1-519-772-0325 x403

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Received on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 20:16:04 UTC

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