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ISSUE-85: ARIA roles added to the a element should be conforming in HTML5 [HTML 5 spec]

From: HTML Weekly Issue Tracker <sysbot+tracker@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 2009 07:40:51 +0000 (GMT)
To: public-html-wg-issue-tracking@w3.org
Message-Id: <20091023074051.40C65C6DC0@barney.w3.org>

ISSUE-85: ARIA roles added to the a element should be conforming in HTML5 [HTML 5 spec]

http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues/85

Raised by: Steve Faulkner
On product: HTML 5 spec

escalated from http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=8000

Currently the a element is defined in the HTML5 specification as an element that cannot have its native role overriden by ARIA roles [1]
 
This is contrary to use in the wild as it has been overriden by the addition of a number of roles in popular javascript UI libraries.
 
Examples:
button
http://jqueryui.com/demos/dialog/
http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/examples/carousel/carousel-ariaplugin_source.html
tab
http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/examples/tabview/tabview-ariaplugin_clean.html
menutiem
http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/examples/menu/menuwaiaria_source.html
 
 
It is important to understand that it is not ARIA that is making the link into a button, its the developers use of javascript, event handlers and CSS that is making it look and act like a button or tab or menutiem. The addition of ARIA is merely providing the information that other users get by default. So making the addition of an ARIA role non conforming, to an element that has been designed to act and look like something other than its native role, is not the appropriate repsonse.
The reasons for creating ARIA centered around the inability of the HTML specification to address how author would create content. In fact, with the exception of forms, it was assumed that HTML would only be used for documents. Clearly, that was a miscalculation. 
 
It is essential that authors be given the tools to produce accessible applications. The perception, by some, is that ARIA is meant to circumvent the semantics of the host language, but rather it is the author that is circumventing the host language to create UI controls that satisfy their needs. WAI-ARIA simply provides the semantics to make them interoperabile with assistive technologies.
 
 
[1] http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/embedded-content-0.html#annotations-for-assistive-technology-products-aria
Received on Friday, 23 October 2009 07:40:55 UTC

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