RE: Implementation questions around HTML structural elements and ARIA Landmarks

Cynthia Shelly wrote:

“Question #1: There are structural elements and aria landmarks with
equivalent functions and different names.  We’re trying to decide if we
should use the same localized control type string for these (and if so,
which), or use the element or role even when they’re different.  These are
the items with conflict, and my proposals for how to handle them.  Does this
make sense?”


It does. My comments below are from the perspective of a screen reader user,
as opposed to a standards person…


“Role=banner and <header> both have localized control type of “Header.”
Using the HTML name because it matches the footer (which ARIA doesn’t have)
and because it seems a more common name for the area at the top of the page.
In discussions with my internal team, people assumed “banner” was an ad and
should be mapped to an image type, while header was the top area of the


I agree. Header is the more user-friendly term for the chunk of content at
the top of a page.


“Role=complementary and <aside> both have localized control type of “Aside.”
Because aside is more plain language, and easier to hear read by a screen
reader.  Are there items that would be role=complementary where “aside” is
not an accurate description?  I think they are the same, but I’m willing to
be convinced that they are more like aside and complementary.”


Aside seems to be the more user-friendly term to me. I actually think
complimentary was the wrong choice for the name of the role, but that’s a
whole other conversation!


“Role=contentinfo and <address> will be mapped separately with localized
control types of “Content Information” and “Address” because address is a
kind a content info, but there are other kinds.  Can anyone think of a more
plain-language way of describing content info?  I don’t think most end users
will understand this term.”


Footer? It might not always be a complete fit, but as with header I think
it’s the more familiar term – and people generally understand that a footer
contains information relating to other stuff on the page.


“Role=navigation and <nav> both have localized control type of “Navigation”
because this user-facing string is not a good place for a geeky



 “Question 4:  Does it make sense to add application to the landmarks loop?
It seems to be used mostly on the body tag.”


The use cases for doing this seem vanishingly small to me.


Question 5: I don’t think it makes sense to add <h1>-<h6> to the landmarks
loop because 1) it would be redundant with existing heading navigation 2)
Lots of landmarks will include headings and either flattening that structure
or making users navigate a hierarchy seems like a bad user experience 3) and
all of these other things are containers and headings are not. 

Does anyone disagree?”


No, it would be a bad idea to add headings to the landmark navigation loop.
I use landmark and heading navigation for quite different purposes, and
combining the two would hinder both navigation strategies.


“Question 6:  Is there a browser/AT combo that you think has a particularly
good user experience for navigating landmarks and structural elements?  What
do you like about it?”


Not exactly, but I do like the ability in Jaws to move directly to the start
of the <main> with a single shortcut (q). It’s also included in the landmark
navigation loop, but the ability to target it directly is extremely useful.





Senior Accessibility Engineer, TPG

@LeonieWatson @PacielloGroup



Received on Thursday, 19 March 2015 18:18:47 UTC