W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > May 2015

RE: ARIA use in HTML other than for accessibility.

From: Jamie Knight <Jamie.Knight@bbc.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 3 May 2015 03:58:13 +0000
To: Bryan Garaventa <bryan.garaventa@ssbbartgroup.com>, Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>, Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
CC: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, W3C WAI Protocols & Formats <public-pfwg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <E9010B65D6C0544D995E60A262FAE95B2A5C783F@BGB01XUD1002.national.core.bbc.co.uk>
There are far more devs out there today who didn't have a formal education than those who did. 

Yes tackling it in education is important. But also giving working developers resoruces to learn more without the expense involved in further education. 

To this end we need both. Good online tutorials, good courses, and good answers on places like stack overflow. Also good examples in popular open source software like bootsrap and workpress.

I agree with everything else your saying, but I think focusing on just educating those who can afford the money / time for formal education misses more of the community than it reaches.

Jamie + Lion 

(who's never spent a single day in a classroom regarding the web!)
From: Bryan Garaventa [bryan.garaventa@ssbbartgroup.com]
Sent: 03 May 2015 01:05
To: Janina Sajka; Steve Faulkner
Cc: HTMLWG WG; HTML Accessibility Task Force; W3C WAI Protocols & Formats
Subject: RE: ARIA use in HTML other than for accessibility.

In many ways I think it is useful for various technologies to take advantage of ARIA markup, such as tying into the Accessibility Tree to provide more reliable feedback and functionality. An example being that if something has a role of button, technologies will automatically recognize it as such within the functionality of that application. E.G Voice navigation software will provide a list of buttons when "list buttons" is spoken both for standard form fields and elements marked up with the ARIA role of button. This concept translates to all of the various ARIA roles.

The danger that I see, is that the spec alphabetizes the available roles provided within the ARIA suite, but does not clearly separate which ones require comprehensive knowledge of scripting and markup versus those that need only familiarity with standard HTML to implement.

This is a huge problem globally for the understanding of ARIA, because many still assume that by simply adding roles to markup, that this magically makes things accessible. All of us here know this isn't true, but for those who are new to the field and beginning to learn their way around ARIA by using the old standby of 'Googling for it', often results in a combination of misunderstood principles, obsolete data, and personal opinions instead of factual information.

In attempt to address this, I wrote the LinkedIn article at

Yet much work still needs to be done to bring proper factual knowledge of ARIA into the classrooms of universities for new engineers as well as the understanding of how this information is used in particular by Assistive Technologies to increase accessibility for users.

ARIA is an advanced technology, and as with HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, the categories of involvement needed to successfully understand and implement it need to be clearly defined as part of the learning process. I'm referring to a formal learning process, not simple tutorials on the web.

Otherwise, without this level of global academic involvement, it will be very difficult to ever convey that ARIA is more than simple window dressing that can be sprinkled amongst HTML markup for a small minority of the global population.

-----Original Message-----
From: Janina Sajka [mailto:janina@rednote.net]
Sent: Friday, May 01, 2015 2:54 PM
To: Steve Faulkner
Cc: HTMLWG WG; HTML Accessibility Task Force; W3C WAI Protocols & Formats
Subject: Re: ARIA use in HTML other than for accessibility.

Let me draw your attention to:


Which includes the following:

"The WAI-ARIA specification neither requires or forbids user agents from enhancing native presentation and interaction behaviors on the basis of WAI-ARIA markup.  Mainstream user agents might expose WAI-ARIA navigational landmarks (for example, as a dialog box or through a keyboard command) with the intention to facilitate navigation for all users. User agents are encouraged to maximize their usefulness to users, including users without disabilities."

The above, taken from the ARIA-1.0 TR continues present in the current
ARIA-1.1 drafts.


Steven Faulkner writes:
> Note: have ccd HTML a11y taskforce and PF, but please reply to HTML WG
> list so a broader audience can read and contribute.
> Hi all,
> There is some discussion  going on currently about the uses of ARIA
> for cases other than accessibility.
> My understanding in the context of HTML is that ARIA is to be used to
> allow web developers to assign semantics to HTML content in order to
> make it understandable to assistive technology users. And that it
> should only be used when HTML features do not have this information
> baked in or developers are building custom UI. Hence my formulation of
> the First [informative] rule of ARIA [1] and the conformance
> requirements on ARIA in HTML [4]
> The ARIA 1.1 spec appears to align with this view:
> > These semantics are designed to allow an author to properly convey
> > user interface behaviors and structural information to assistive
> > technologies in document-level markup.
> >
>  So I was somewhat surprised to see a tweet [3] yesterday from Rich
> Schwerdtfeger:
> ARIA is providing more semantics than host languages and it is growing.
> > Developers and Designers would be foolish to limit its use to a11y.
> >
> I see problems arising from the use of ARIA in HTML for purposes other
> than UI accessibility including:
> * Conflict with native HTML accessibility semantics
> * Unnecessary cruft build up in the corpus of HTML documents due to
> its extended use.
> * Dilution of its relationship to accessibility APIs semantics and
> increase in complexity of an already complex vocabulary.
> I would really think there is a need for this stuff to be more
> thoroughly discussed, especially in relation to ARIA use in HTML as a host language.
> Review at your leasure, comment at will.
> [1] http://w3c.github.io/aria-in-html/#first-rule-of-aria-use
> [2] http://rawgit.com/w3c/aria/master/aria/aria.html#h-abstract
> [3] https://twitter.com/rschwer/status/593758137989013504
> [4] http://www.w3.org/TR/html-aria/
> --
> Regards
> SteveF
> HTML 5.1 <http://www.w3.org/html/wg/drafts/html/master/>


Janina Sajka,   Phone:  +1.443.300.2200
                Email:  janina@rednote.net

Linux Foundation Fellow
Executive Chair, Accessibility Workgroup:       http://a11y.org

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
Chair,  Protocols & Formats     http://www.w3.org/wai/pf
        Indie UI                        http://www.w3.org/WAI/IndieUI/
Received on Sunday, 3 May 2015 04:00:15 UTC

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