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Re: ARIA roles added to the a element should be conforming in HTML5.

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2009 10:42:31 -0600
Message-ID: <dd0fbad0911100842sa88c755t12e013b82902d896@mail.gmail.com>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Cc: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>, Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>, Lars Gunther <gunther@keryx.se>, Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>
On Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 8:40 AM, Charles McCathieNevile
<chaals@opera.com> wrote:
>>>> On Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 9:08 AM, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>>>>> In the spirit of "don't break the Web", the most important question
>>>>> seems to me be to be "should it work?" Should a <h1> with a
>>>>> role="button" be presented as a button in accessibility devices?
> [a few people with known expertise and experiences in accessibility said
> Yes. I agree with them.]


On Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 8:40 AM, Charles McCathieNevile
<chaals@opera.com> wrote:
> On Thu, 22 Oct 2009 16:42:50 +0200, Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Well, since aria just recently got put into HTML, I suspect it's not
>> widely used yet.  (I'm asking around for possible evidence.)
> Suspicion is not proof. ARIA has been around for a long time (longer than
> HTML5, for example) and included in HTML content whatever the spec said
> before (through various Javascript libraries and products from and for large
> organisations, as noted elsewhere in the thread).
> Some user agents, and some assistive technologies, already support ARIA. A
> 3-minute test case
> <html dir="ltr">
> <head>
>  <title>Blank page</title>
> </head>
> <body><h1 role="button">test</h1>
> <button>test</button></body></html>
> running in Opera 1010 Mac (last week's weekly[1]) with VoiceOver suggests
> that the role works on H1 now. As Steve and others said it should. Using
> role="button" on a link behaves that way too.

Damn, I was sort of hoping it *wasn't* supported in that particular
way yet.  Well, that's existence proof at least, even if it's sort of
crazy to me.

> In any case, as a browser implementor I will strongly resist attempts to get
> the browser to behave differently in this case - since our goal is to help
> users.
> I have been told various times that HTML 5 is about what happens in the real
> world (indeed, I promote that benefit consistently in my mnay talks on the
> topic), but I am ready to see the evidence.

So you're reasonably certain that presenting that <h1> as a button in
accessibility devices is indeed a good thing for users?  And that
officially blessing this usage is better than attempting to evangelize
for more appropriate usage in the first place, obviating the need for

(I'm very interested in the answer to this, because I'm assuming that
one *can* use appropriate elements in the first place - my own
experience building websites seems to suggest so.  If in practice
there are indeed important reasons to subvert HTML's default
semantics, that's information to know about!)

>> Because ARIA and CSS are different things.  Why should they work
>> similarly?  ARIA is nothing than a patch to help out users of ATs when
>> authors use elements in novel ways, such as using <div>s to implement
>> sliders.  It's not meant as a general tool to be used by the average
>> author - with luck, a normal author never has to get anywhere *near*
>> ARIA, because they're using elements for what they're intended for.
> So it's a patch for authors who do crazy things. In which case the expected
> use is where authors don't do the right thing. If you make that
> non-conforming, you can already argue that your authors don't care about the
> semantics of conformance anyway, perhaps just the yes/no status. I am not
> sure how you get from there (with or without the last assumption) to "ARIA
> shouldn't be conforming where it is used in ways that match its use cases
> and what authors actually do".

Well, no.  You don't have to do crazy things to make use of ARIA.  A
major use-case for it is implementing new widgets, where there are no
appropriate default semantics and so it's better to jump straight into
<div>s and <span>s and patch them up so they actually make sense in
mediums beyond visual.

I'm saying that I *don't* think ARIA should be a patch for when
authors do crazy things.  In my experience it's always possible, and
usually pretty easy, to comply with HTML's default semantics.  I may
be wrong, though - there may be cases that I just haven't run into
where the most logical thing really *is* to use an <h1> but treat it
as a button.

(Actually, I may know of one - some accordion structures use headings
as the toggler for their section.  In that case, is it most helpful to
expose the heading as a button?  I truly don't know, and would
appreciate some guidance on the matter.)

Received on Tuesday, 10 November 2009 16:43:34 UTC

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