RE: Icon fonts - semantic elements

I don’t necessarily disagree, but how did you resolve it would be a failure for non-UI components?


From: Alastair Campbell []
Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 10:51 AM
To: 'Jim Allan' <>
Cc: 'public-low-vision-a11y-tf' <>
Subject: Re: Icon fonts - semantic elements

After a fairly epic twitter conversation with Patrick, we came to the conclusion it should be a failure of 4.1.2, which can be added by having a technique (and/or failure). It would then help to publicise this ‘change’, if there is any associated LV documentation that goes up around the time of 2.1…

This is the thread (linking towards the end):

Assuming people agree, where could we track this as a to-do item?



From: "Repsher, Stephen J" <<>>
Date: Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 18:31
To: Katie Haritos-Shea GMAIL <<>>, 'Jim Allan' <<>>, LVTF - low-vision-a11y <<>>, 'Glenda Sims' <<>>
Subject: RE: Icon fonts - semantic elements
Resent-From: LVTF - low-vision-a11y <<>>
Resent-Date: Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 18:32

Yes, I was going to say the same thing as Katie.  The definition is:

user interface component
a part of the content that is perceived by users as a single control for a distinct function

There’s certainly a deficiency here because ARIA can change the native role to various types that wouldn’t be considered UI components, such as “img” for icon fonts or sprites.  I’d also question whether role=”toolbar” or other container roles are covered here.

Furthermore, if an icon is used as a UI component like a button for example, then 4.1.2 may only require you use <button> or role=”button” and give it a label, but then we’re back to the same problem when it comes to font replacement.


From: Katie Haritos-Shea GMAIL []
Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2017 1:07 PM
To: 'Jim Allan' <<>>; 'public-low-vision-a11y-tf' <<>>; Repsher, Stephen J <<>>; 'Glenda Sims' <<>>
Subject: RE: Icon fonts - semantic elements


In my mind only if that icon font was used as a control. 4.1.2 is really about interactive elements….my 2 cents…

​​​​​* katie *

Katie Haritos-Shea
Principal ICT Accessibility Architect (WCAG/Section 508/ADA/AODA)

Cell: 703-371-5545 |<> | Oakton, VA | LinkedIn Profile<> | Office: 703-371-5545 | @ryladog<>

NOTE: The content of this email should be construed to always be an expression of my own personal independent opinion, unless I identify that I am speaking on behalf of Knowbility, as their AC Rep at the W3C - and - that my personal email never expresses the opinion of my employer, Deque Systems.

From: Jim Allan []
Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2017 12:56 PM
To: public-low-vision-a11y-tf <<>>; Repsher, Stephen J <<>>; Glenda Sims <<>>
Subject: Icon fonts - semantic elements

Was drafting the email to html editor about where to file a but about specifying the semantic of sprites or icon-fonts so they can be programmatically determined.
"role" popped into my head.
How is using <i>some icon-font stuff</i> not a failure of
4.1.2 Name, Role, Value: For all user interface components<> (including but not limited to: form elements, links and components generated by scripts), the name<> and role<> can be programmatically determined<>; states, properties, and values that can be set by the user can be programmatically set<>; and notification of changes to these items is available to user agents<>, including assistive technologies<>. (Level A)

the icon-font is text but its role is an image shouldn't this fail 4.1.2?

Jim Allan, Accessibility Coordinator
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 W. 45th St., Austin, Texas 78756
voice 512.206.9315    fax: 512.206.9264

"We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us." McLuhan, 1964

Received on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 17:07:30 UTC