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Re: Several questions about ARIA status

From: Matt May <mattmay@adobe.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 08:18:06 -0800
To: Michael S Elledge <elledge@msu.edu>
CC: WAI Interest Group list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <59D2BDE2-9835-42F3-9489-6B407F6511F2@adobe.com>
On Nov 11, 2009, at 9:47 AM, Michael S Elledge wrote:
> 1. There are a number of roles that don't map yet to MSAA. What will
> happen to them? Will MSAA have to create new roles for them?

MSAA hasn't been updated in ages, and as far as I know, never will be. Newer interfaces (User Interface Automation, IAccessible2, AT-SPI, OS X Accessibility API) are capable of supporting ARIA roles, and each ARIA-supporting browser is using one of those.

> 2. Will screen readers continue to use the MSAA API for awhile or will
> they switch over to the new Microsoft accessibility API? Will it be
> backward compatible?

It'll be a long time before any screen reader abandons MSAA outright. 99% of the software in the market supports MSAA if it supports anything. But realistically, to do most modern software development, software vendors are going to need to use a newer API, and every screen reader vendor I know of is working on supporting UIA and/or IA2 on Windows, and the platform native APIs on Mac and Linux (and iPhone, and Blackberry, and...)

There's a compatibility layer between UIA and MSAA, but as far as ARIA is concerned, I don't believe any web app using ARIA would produce the results you want in MSAA-only screen readers.

> 3. Have the screen reader vendors and browser developers put out
> roadmaps for their adoption of the ARIA roles? I've seen the Paciello
> Group list of current support, which is very helpful, but I wonder
> what's to come.

Heh. If you find any published roadmaps, let me know. ;)

Received on Wednesday, 11 November 2009 16:19:53 UTC

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