RE: Question about ARIA role for bubble help (DHTML style guide)

I think that for interactive popup help baloons a role of AlertDialog is
most appropriate.
We had a somewhat similar discussion on the Mozilla-dev list with regards to
how Firefox3 implemented alerts as in:
"Would you like Firefox to remember password for this site? Yes/No/Never"
Firefox3 developers decided not to route programmatic focus into this dialog
arguing that this alert may be treated as an information and does not have
to be acted upon.
I don't think we agreed on anything in particular because the issue is in
fact a complex one.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf
Of Joseph Scheuhammer
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 9:09 AM
Subject: Question about ARIA role for bubble help (DHTML style guide)

To whom it may concern,

Yesterday's DHTML style guild call was about popup help.  The current
thoughts on keyboard access are here:

I summarize the discussion below, not to elicit comments on the document
(although that would be welcome as well), but to ask what is the ARIA role
for bubble help?  The summary is solely to give the reader a feel for why
this is an issue.

At the beginning of the discussion, popup help was described as similar to a
tooltip, in that it popped up relative to some widget.  The difference is
that bubble help has interactive elements within it.  
These interactive elements must be keyboard accessible.  During the
discussion of the keystrokes, some felt that tabbing among the elements
within popup help was cyclical -- if focus was on the last element, and the
user pressed the tab key, then focus is moved to the first element in the
popup.  Dismissal of the poup is accomplished by pressing the escape key, or
activating one of its interactive elements, or clicking outside of it (Earl,
is this correct re: mouse clicks?).  In this scenario, bubble help is acting
somewhat like a modal dialog and/or a popup menu.  A candidate ARIA role is
"alertdialog".  Or perhaps it should involve a role more appropriate for a
"popup/tooltip", such as "presentation"?

By the end of the discussion, popup help was relatively more permanent, and
behaved somewhat like a floating window or tear-off.  The example was of a
series of instructions that the user would want to keep at hand as they
followed them.  For example, the help bubble might contain:  
"Step 1:  go to the main page and look at such-and-such, and activate one of
its options.  Step2:  next, go elsewhere and do so-and-so", and so on.  In
this case, it is desirable that the help remain available, and be something
that the user can return to easily while they follow its instructions.
Here, bubble help is amodal, perhaps a dialog or a window, that the user
invokes when they need help, and, they can alternate focus between it and
the main web app.  Is the ARIA role here simply "dialog"?  Is there an ARIA
role for "tear off" windows?

Aside:  after writing the above, it seems to me that both scenarios are
possible, and that there are actually two kinds of help "widgets":  One that
is properly termed "bubble/popup help", and the other "floating help", or
some such.  Still, what are their appropriate roles?


'This is not war -- this is pest control!'
      - "Doomsday", Dalek Leader -

Received on Wednesday, 19 March 2008 18:27:31 UTC