Re: aria vs native alternatives [was: Re: feedback requested on WAI CG Consensus Resolutions on Text alternatives in HTML 5 document]

Jim Jewett writes:

> Smylers wrote:
> > > Aria is specifically about accessibility for those with
> > > disibilities.  A user without any disabilities using, say, Lynx or
> > > Firefox with images turned off, would not be using any technology
> > > that processes aira-* attributes.  As such she would not see an
> > > alternative to the missing image, and would not know the purpose
> > > of the link.

[This was in response to a suggestion made by Steve, who changed his
mind based on what I wrote above.  So I was consider this not to be

> Ian agreed with:
> > ARIA is intended as an accessibility API layer above the semantics
> > of HTML ... last resort ... even with ARIA as an integral part of
> > the language ... I don't think that removing ARIA markup should ever
> > make a page non-conforming.
> Why can't lynx or firefox use the aria-* attributes?

Aria has not been designed with non-accessibility uses in mind.  What's
best for accessibility software may not be best for other purposes.

If things other than accessibility software start taking notice of Aria,
that could hamper Aria's usefulness for its intended audience.

For example, alt attributes have often been misused with "click here",
or other marketing messages.  If Aria is only used by accessibility
software it's less likely things like that would happen.

> If (as suggested) the aria spec itself forbids this, then I think that
> is a bug in the aria spec.

It was a choice of those creating Aria only to be concerned with
accessiblity for those with disabilities, not accessibility in general
("universality").  Possibly taking universality concerns into account
would lead to compromises, making Aria poorer at serving its currently
defined audience.  By staying focused on a narrower aim they could
better meet it.

And regardless, the point is that Aria now exists, and that it has been
designed without taking the needs of, say, Lynx users into account.  It
would be irresponsible to delegate responsibility for something to a
group which hasn't tried to solve it.


Received on Wednesday, 2 September 2009 14:26:35 UTC