Re: Discussing ARIA in HTML5 integration

It should also be noted just because HTML5 is being developed  and implemented it does not mean all developers will use it.  If people use HTML5 and it supports accessibility those resources will not need to use ARIA (Hurrah for those developers!).  Other developers for various reasons will choose not to use HTML5 technologies and will need to use ARIA to make their resources more accessible.

HTML5 and ARIA in general not competing technologies, but complementary and where they do overlap there should be consistency and harmonization.

In my opinion the goal of the WAI groups is to work with the HTML5 working group to include accessibility features in HTML5 meet or exceed the accessibility features that can be achieved  with HTML4 and the emerging ARIA technologies.

---- Original message ----
>Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2008 23:45:17 +0100
>From: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <>  
>Subject: Re: Discussing ARIA in HTML5 integration  
>To: Al Gilman <>, Dan Connolly <>
>Cc: "Michael(tm) Smith" <>, Chris Wilson <>, HTML WG <>, W3C WAI-XTECH <>
>aloha! -- apologies for joining this thread late, but at least now my 
>ears have stopped burning...
>IRC is a grand tool, but an imperfect tool, save in one aspect:
>it has few equals in enabling the distortion of an out-of-context 
>comment into an accusation, as well as tinder for spreading heat, 
>rather than light...
>for the record, i never stated as an individual or a member of any 
>particular working or interest group, that PF is ignoring HTML5;
>i don't speak for any working group or behalf of any working group,
>nor do i claim to do so; i DID, however, at the meeting from which 
>henri drew his quote (which was accredited to me, but is a scribe's
>encapsulation of what i said), state that since PF has had no success 
>in getting everyone together in one place (virtual or physical) to 
>discuss the various suggestions and concerns as to how ARIA can be 
>integrated into HTML5, PF was redoubling its internal efforts to ensure 
>that its house was in order as regards ARIA 1.0 so as to ensure that it 
>is tight enough and clear enough to pass Last Call without any major 
>hurdles as to the consistency and clearness of the specification and 
>its use
>and, what i said at last week's HTML WG telecon was that ARIA 1.0 is 
>needed today and yesterday, and that embedding ARIA in HTML5 test 
>cases is a non sequitur, because:
>a) ARIA 1.0 is for today and yesterday's web;
>b) that PF asked the HTML WG for native accessibility features to be 
>incorporated into HTML5 to the fullest extent possible, but in the 
>interim -- while such mechanisms are being developed in collaboration 
>between the HTML WG and pertinent WAI working groups -- ARIA will be 
>needed for today's script-heavy, semantically strapped web, as well 
>as for the evolving web -- all points made in al's initial formal 
>comments (as chair of PF) to the HTML WG -- the PF WG's actual request
>  Support for issues highlighted in Table: 1 of the ARIA Roadmap
>[Note: the URI referenced directly above is now:
> + Backward compatability to ARIA, including the role attribute.
> + Allow for full interoperability with assistive technologies
> + A preference for access to accessibility information via the DOM
> + Reduced efforts by authors to support assistive technologies
> + Support for the access element or a version of it.
> + Maintain equivalent or improved accessibility features of HTML 4.01
>c) that, given its nature and intent, ARIA 1.0 cannot be held up by an 
>evolving and unstable technology;
>d) that HTML5 support amongst UA implementors varies; amongst assistive 
>technologies it is nonexistent (and in some cases, perhaps, impossible);
>e) that the overwhelming mass of content on the web is HTML 4x and 
>XHTML 1.0 (roughly speaking) plus scripted slash dynamic content -- 
>this is the content to which ARIA 1.0 needs to be applied, and has needed 
>to be applied for (at least) the past 6 to 8 years;
>f) HTML 4x/XHTML 1.0 contains several mechanisms (such as LONGDESC
>and the headers/id association for TABLE) which HTML5 currently does 
>NOT support, but for which there is extant support in extant assistive 
>technologies as well as in ARIA, but that the ARIA mechanisms are not
>direct corallaries to their HTML5 equivalents -- in some instances, 
>"describedby" could provide a long descriptor, in others it cannot -- 
>a long descriptor itself may be a tree or accordion widget which allows 
>an assistive technology user to follow the flow of a diagram, flow 
>chart, family tree, etc.);
>g) that it is necessary to find a way to integrate current and future
>ARIA markup into generalized as well as specialized markup languages;
>especially HTML5, if the accessibility mechanisms defined in HTML 4x 
>are not retained or improved, and that PF and other WAI groups have 
>expressed an active interest in working with the HTML WG on ensuring 
>that mechanisms retained, changed or adapted from HTML 4x are superior
>-- as well as implementable -- solutions which would (if the native 
>markup is used correctly) obviate the need for several aspects of 
>ARIA 1.0; however, since such an obsolescence is a panglossian view of 
>the future of HTML authoring, ARIA must have a means of being included 
>slash supported (an HTML + ARIA profile) now and in the future, not just 
>to accommodate improvements in ARIA and the addressing as yet unforseen 
>problems and obstacles that may arise between the issuance of ARIA 1.0
>and the coalescence of HTML5
>we spent almost 45 minutes on the HTML WG call on this specific topic, 
>in an attempt (at least on my part) to clear some basic misconceptions 
>as to: what PF asked for in its opening comments to the HTML WG; what 
>ARIA 1.0 is, is designed for, and how it should be used -- with the 
>understanding that native mechanisms should be developed to make as 
>much of ARIA 1.0 as redundant as possible in HTML5 -- but that the 
>development of those mechanisms and features cannot be allowed to delay 
>the implementation of ARIA 1.0 nor should they be an impediment to the 
>use of ARIA in HTML5, so that tools such as AccessMonkey can be used to 
>provide repair for poorly authored/generated document instances...
>Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves. 
>                              -- Gene Fowler (1890-1960)
>Gregory J. Rosmaita:
>Camera Obscura:
>---------- Original Message -----------
>From: Dan Connolly <>
>To: Al Gilman <>
>Cc: W3C WAI-XTECH <>, HTML WG <>, Chris 
>Wilson <>, "Michael(tm) Smith" <>
>Sent: Wed, 09 Apr 2008 16:17:46 -0500
>Subject: Re: Discussing ARIA in HTML5 integration
>> On Wed, 2008-04-09 at 11:30 -0400, Al Gilman wrote:
>> > Good points.
>> > 
>> > On 9 Apr 2008, at 4:17 AM, Henri Sivonen wrote:
>> > >
>> > > I happened to find this curious statement in the IRC logs of a  
>> > > third WG:
>> > > "Gregory: We (WAI) arranged a special meeting with HTML5 people to  
>> > > discuss Aria, and no one from HTML5 turned up"
>> > > "... so we are ignoring them for the moment"
>> > >
>> Gregory said something like that in a recent HTML WG teleconference
>> as well; I got the impression that there was some recent attempt 
>> to set up a teleconference and it didn't work out for various reasons.
>> Such is life.
>> > This demonstrates the downside potential of too much public 
>> > Things can get taken out of context, and taken too seriously.
>> The cost of a few clarification mail messages is modest...
>> > > On a more general note:
>> > >
>> > > Face-to-face meeting and telecons are problematic for discussing  
>> > > detailed technical things like language integration, because 
>> > > don't have the opportunity to re-study drafts, write test cases 
>> > > do research in order to make informed statements and change their  
>> > > opinions based on verified information in the middle of the  
>> > > conversation. Moreover, by charter[1], the HTML WG "primarily  
>> > > conducts its technical work on a Public mailing list public-html".  
>> > > After all, face-to-face meetings and telecons would discriminate  
>> > > against a substantial number of HTML WG participants.
>> Meanwhile, email isn't perfect either; the occasional supplementary
>> teleconference, IRC chat, etc. can help quite a bit.
>> -- 
>> Dan Connolly, W3C
>> gpg D3C2 887B 0F92 6005 C541  0875 0F91 96DE 6E52 C29E
>------- End of Original Message -------
Jon Gunderson, Ph.D.
Coordinator Information Technology Accessibility
Disability Resources and Educational Services

Rehabilitation Education Center
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Received on Thursday, 10 April 2008 14:07:41 UTC