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ARIA guide authoring practices and assistive technology bugs (alert dialog)

From: Birkir Gunnarsson <birkir.gunnarsson@deque.com>
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2014 15:12:08 -0500
To: "'Matthew King'" <mattking@us.ibm.com>, "'Bryan Garaventa'" <bryan.garaventa@ssbbartgroup.com>
Cc: "'James Nurthen'" <james.nurthen@oracle.com>, <public-pfwg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <009401d0125a$14d2f2b0$3e78d810$@deque.com>
Greetings everyone


Matt/James, this might be an overload if sent to the whole list, would you propose that a smaller group of us discuss individual bugs?

I know it is unrelated to the specific agenda for last week, but I have been thoroughly writing and testing a simple alert dialog.

I am not sure if I can send the specific code yet, (in any case sending it to a mailing list is hardly the way to go), but thte skeleton is:



<button>some button that displays a dialog and moves focus to the “close” button inside the dialog container</button>

<div role=”alertdialog” aria-labelledby=”foo1”>

<h2 id=”foo1”>Warning</h2>

<p id=”foo2”>The message of the alert dialog</p>

<!-- this button receives focus when dialog is displayed à

<button id=”dialogclose”>Close</button>




Screen reader observations:

Jaws 16 with IE10 – Will not read the alert dialog text unless aria-describedby is used on the close button to connect it with the paragraph (<button aria-describedby=“foo2”>close</button>).

It reads label of dialog and the word “dialog”, then “close button” .. but not the text, unless aria-describedby is present.

Also Jaws will ignore targets of aria-describedby when its general verbosity level is set to “advanced”.

I know an issue has been filed for that, but Jaws 16 has not addressed this.


NVDA 2014.4 with FF33:

If the text of the dialog message (p with id=”foo2”> is assigned role=”document” (as recommended in the spec as I understand it), NVDA 2014.4 will not read it, neither when the dialog is displayed, nor using aria-describedby = “foo2” on the close button.

The only way to see it is to force browse mode and use arrow keys to locate the message.


If role=”document is removed from paragraph with id=”foo2” , 

NVDA will read the alert message when dialog is displayed.

If aria-describedby=”foo2” is present on the close button, it will read the message, the close button, then the message again.


I have not studied the browsers accessibility API yet.


I propose that two a.t. vendor bugs be filed (given the outcome of inspecting the browser).


-        Should read content of alert dialog role automatically when focus is moved into it.


-        Should not let role=”document” disassociate the message from role=”alertdialog” and aria-describedby.


If we plan to create a repository of bugs based around our own examples, we can add these to that when the time comes, and if the bug still exists.

I expect to file these on my own, but any kind of official filing or recording by the group may encourage vendors to get things fixed.



Received on Sunday, 7 December 2014 20:12:40 UTC

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