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aria vs html5 (was: ARIA States and Properties Meeting)

From: Jim Jewett <jimjjewett@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2007 14:10:53 -0400
Message-ID: <fb6fbf560710241110p1e26abc7q55ef5ce27c1a0823@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-html@w3.org

Anne van Kesteren <annevk@opera.com> wrote:

> If HTML5 were to be supported
> by all vendors ARIA would not even be needed.

Could you explain that?

I used the support pages of two screen-reader vendors to ask if there
was anything a new HTML spec could do to make their lives easier.  The
answer was "No."  My understanding of the reason is:

    The Assistive Technology Vendors are *not*
    interested in ever even seeing the HTML.
    They screen-scrape whatever Application X
    has put on the screen.

They also use accessibility APIs exposed by the operating system,
because these APIs are common across applications.  They *might*
special case MSIE or even Firefox as an "important" application, but
they really don't want to.

Realistically, they really don't even want to support ARIA directly,
any more than they want to separately support the "OS-level" APIs for
MS Windows, Apple, GTK, and KDE.  (But they probably will, if ARIA
gets used in more than just web browsers, so that it could be seen as
a cross-OS API.)

The value of ARIA is that it lets MSIE (or firefox or Opera or
MyKoolProgram) make better use of those OS-level accessibility APIs
that they are already supporting.

If the html spec simply states:

    Attribute names starting with "aria-" are
    reserved for use by the ARIA specification.
    These are typically used to improve accessibility.
...
    role attribute values starting with "aria-" are
    reserved for use by the ARIA specification.
    These are typically used to improve accessibility.

I think that will cover it.

-jJ
Received on Wednesday, 24 October 2007 18:11:06 UTC

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