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aria role attribute

From: Michael A. Peters <mpeters@domblogger.net>
Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2011 15:33:46 -0800
Message-ID: <4EED26DA.9010006@domblogger.net>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

I'm currently working on a CMS that I hope will make it as easy as 
possible to produce proper accessible content.

While my personal disability does not cause any issue with using the 
web, I personally understand how frustrating it can be for someone to be 
denied or have poor access to a resource because the group responsible 
for the resource did not take simple steps to make it accessible.

There is a lot of work and testing I still need to do, but I currently 
have some questions about the aria role attribute, specifically the 
navigation role.

There are 3 different types of navigation lists produced by my CMS:

1) Site navigation, links to other pages on the web site.
2) Document Wide navigation, links to anchors at every h1 through h3 
level heading in the page. This is in an aside and is not really 
accessible from browsers that do not use CSS since the aside code is 
after the main content code.
3) Section Navigation - links to ever direct sub section within the HTML 
article structure, this list is put inside a header node right after the 
heading for the section. This greatly improves accessibility when using 
a browser like links or lynx, as it is fairly easy to navigate to a 
specific part of a large document.

I think accessibility could be improved if there was a way to describe 
which type of navigation list the list was, rather than just generic 
role="navigation" attribute in the parent container. Is there a way to 
do that?


Also on the topic of aria role attribute, when testing the output of my 
CMS in Android using various browsers, it seemed none of them made 
obvious use of the aria role attribute, even though it would make using 
a tablet that much easier for everyone.

For example, how cool would it be to fire up Opera Mobile, go to a web 
page, click the tablets menu button, and be able to select main content 
from the menu. That would seem to be a much easier way to get to the 
main content than using fingers on the screen to position and select 
what part of the page you want to see.

Is there any hint of mobile browser developers using the role attribute 
in this manner? It would probably encourage web developers to use the 
role attribute, as it would make their sites easier to use on tablets.

Thanks for any comments.
Received on Saturday, 17 December 2011 23:34:33 UTC

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