RE: ARIA semantics for secondary navigation

Screen reader users do not necessarily want to know the visual position of a navigation bars, they want to know what the relationship is between the links in a navigation bar.   

This can be done using the ARIA-LABEL and ARIA-LABELLEDBY links, see example:


---- Original message ----
>Date: Tue, 19 May 2009 08:47:43 -0400
>From: "Sailesh Panchang" <>  
>Subject: RE: ARIA semantics for secondary navigation  
>To: "'Simon Pieters'" <>, "'Victor Tsaran'" <>, "'Ryan Doherty'" <>, <>
>The problem with this is sighted users can make out that this is the main
>menu or left nav and do not need headings there. Such obvious headings  for
>sighted users are useful for non-sighted users for instance. The main menu /
>left nav may be in a list within a div . Using  offscreen headings via CSS
>is an option one uses sometimes. But this  is more like a fix for screen
>reader users and does not expose semantics like the role does.
> Maybe roles like top-navigation, secondary-navigation, tab-navigation,
>footer-navigation,  and a plain navigation might be some options available
>to content developers. Sometimes there is a list of links like: Home,
>Search, Help, Logout/login at the top and then a list of links that is
>interpreted as application specific top-nav followed by left-nav links.
>Sailesh Panchang
>Accessibility Services Manager (Web and Software)
>Deque Systems Inc. (
>11130 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite #140,
>Reston VA 20191
>Phone: 703-225-0380 (ext 105)
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Simon Pieters [] 
>Sent: Monday, May 18, 2009 5:44 PM
>To: Victor Tsaran;; Ryan Doherty;
>Subject: Re: ARIA semantics for secondary navigation
>On Mon, 18 May 2009 23:23:00 +0200, Victor Tsaran <>
>>> I thought there was a way to name landmarks already: using one of the
>>> <h1>-<h6> elements.
>> Do you mean by embeding landmarks inside headings?
>No, by placing a heading in the landmark.
>   <div role="navigation">
>    <h2>main menu</h2>
>    ...
>   </div>
>I looked briefly at the ARIA spec and didn't find anything about this, so I
>was probably wrong. However, I think it's the logical thing to use and it
>would be nice if the association would just work.
>(In HTML5, the <nav> element creates a section, and the outline algorithm
>will associate an <hgroup> or <h1>-<h6> element with the section, if there
>is one.)
>Simon Pieters
>Opera Software
Jon Gunderson, Ph.D.
Coordinator Information Technology Accessibility
Disability Resources and Educational Services

Rehabilitation Education Center
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1207 S. Oak Street
Champaign, Illinois 61821

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Received on Tuesday, 19 May 2009 14:08:20 UTC