Re: Meeting with SVG, XHTML, WAI people to move forward on ARIA as a cross cutting technology

Rich Schwerdtfeger
Distinguished Engineer, SWG Accessibility Architect/Strategist
Chair, IBM Accessibility Architecture Review  Board

Ian Hickson <> wrote on 10/18/2007 12:24:00 AM:

> On Wed, 17 Oct 2007, Richard Schwerdtfeger wrote:
> >
> > We have a solution with ARIA that causes people with disabilities to be

> > able to access this new web.
> I think that's overstating the case a little. The ARIA features don't
> the Web magically accessible. They make Web pages *that use the
> attributes* accessible, assuming they are used correctly (which is
> non-trivial and hard to test).
Well, you could say the same thing about CSS and JavaScript. Writing a Web
style application that runs across all browsers is far more difficult than
it is to enable it for ARIA.

> There are other solutions which solve the same problem in different ways,

> in many cases without requiring the authors to specifically go out of
> their way to support users with disabilities (though these features still

> have to be used, and used correctly). [1]
Sure, standard controls built into the markup would go a long way - but
that means the browsers need to do the equivalent of ARIA in supporting
There is no free lunch.

> There are no solutions that I'm aware of that will causes people with
> disabilities to be able to access this new web without authors changing
> their pages to use new features, which is what we really need.

> [1] For example, providing more native widgets in the way that XForms and

> HTML5 do, or binding widgets found in the "semantic layer" (HTML, XForms)

> to specific styles and layouts in the "presentation layer" (SVG, CSS)
> using an explicit binding (CSS, XBL, XSLT). Most of these combinations of

> technologies are easier to test for most authors than ARIA would be, and
> thus more likely to actually make the Web accessible.
Sure, but see my points above. I think the more difficult problem with this
strategy will be to convince all browser manufacturers to implement
XBL. ...
and even if these vehicles were there people will still build web apps.
they do today. We are looking at years out. ... I do agree we should try to
make this happen. Let's just not have rose colored glasses.

> --
> Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
>       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
> Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

Received on Thursday, 18 October 2007 15:07:13 UTC