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RE: Rethinking the necessities of ARIA landmark role "main" and HTML5 <main> element

From: Steve Green <steve.green@testpartners.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2013 10:06:32 +0000
To: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
CC: Ian Yang <ian@invigoreight.com>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <6BDDA23E03987E4C90F4F8B4127D3B7A1489B5F8@THHSLE14MBX1.hslive.net>
"what users want is not to jump to a specific place in the document but to jump _past_ uninteresting content in the document"

Have you ever heard a user express that desire? I haven't, and I do a lot of user testing. In my experience they do want to jump to a specific place (mostly the main content, sometimes the site search textbox and rarely anything else). That is particularly the case for screen reader users because they have limited ability to see ahead, and they don't know how many sections of 'uninteresting' content they would need to jump past in order to get to the main content.

Why would you not want to provide a means to jump directly to the most important content on a page? Why make it more difficult than necessary?

Steve Green
Managing Director
Test Partners Ltd

________________________________
From: Steve Faulkner [faulkner.steve@gmail.com]
Sent: 26 March 2013 09:46
To: Ian Hickson
Cc: Ian Yang; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Rethinking the necessities of ARIA landmark role "main" and HTML5 <main> element



The landmark roles in general aren't really necessary now that HTML has
the relevant semantics covered.

Actually the reverse is true currently, while with the introduction of the main element we have html elements that depending on context of use can represent all of the landmarks,
browser implementations are still incomplete[4]. Using ARIA in HTML [1] provides guidance on which elements benefit from the addition of an explicit role

For "main" specifically, nothing is
needed, since what users want is not to jump to a specific place in the
document but to jump _past_ uninteresting content in the document.

AT and authored skip links don't actually work like this, for a skip to main content link a referenced element is required, one which identifies the start of the main content . As Rich Schwerdtfeger (who developed ARIA)  recently stated in relation to landmarks[2]:

Probably the most important rule for applying landmarks is to ensure all content resides in a landmark region to ensure no content is orphaned. This way a screen reader user can safely use landmark navigation without missing content. This practice will be in the next working draft release of the WAI-ARIA authoring practices(editorís draft) [3].

and as the semantics applied to HTML elements such as nav/aside etc are defined in terms of ARIA landmark roles, it underscores that role=main and the <main> element are integral and necessary.


[1] https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/aria-unofficial/raw-file/tip/index.html#recommendations-table
[2] http://blog.paciellogroup.com/2013/02/using-wai-aria-landmarks-2013/comment-page-1/#comment-24064
[3]http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/aria-practices/
[4]http://html5accessibility.com/

with regards

--
SteveF
HTML 5.1<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/drafts/html/master/>
<http://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/wat-ie-about.html>


On 26 March 2013 04:32, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch<mailto:ian@hixie.ch>> wrote:
On Tue, 26 Mar 2013, Ian Yang wrote:
>
> Could please you let us know why you think it is a mistake in ARIA that
> the landmark role "main" even exists?

The landmark roles in general aren't really necessary now that HTML has
the relevant semantics covered. For "main" specifically, nothing is
needed, since what users want is not to jump to a specific place in the
document but to jump _past_ uninteresting content in the document.

HTH,
--
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 10:07:40 GMT

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