RE: ARIA semantics for secondary navigation

My conclusion from today's discussion: 

If "aria-labelledby" is not working in a given Browser/AT implementation
for referencing of hidden elements 
it can be considered as an Browser/AT implementation bug and has to be
filed to the respective bug bases.

- Stefan

-----Original Message-----
From: Jon Gunderson [] 
Sent: Mittwoch, 20. Mai 2009 15:56
To: Simon Pieters; James Craig; Schnabel, Stefan
Cc: Victor Tsaran; Ryan Doherty;
Subject: Re: ARIA semantics for secondary navigation

If you look at this example page there are many hidden labels for
navigation bars.

Using HTML best practices techniques:

see iCITA Best Practices:

Using ARIA:


---- Original message ----
>Date: Wed, 20 May 2009 10:46:41 +0200
>From: "Simon Pieters" <>  
>Subject: Re: ARIA semantics for secondary navigation  
>To: "James Craig" <>, "Schnabel, Stefan"
>Cc: "Victor Tsaran" <>, "Ryan Doherty"
>On Wed, 20 May 2009 09:40:30 +0200, James Craig <>
>> On May 19, 2009, at 11:44 PM, Schnabel, Stefan wrote:
>>> I want to ask an heretic question:
>>> Who says that a text node referenced by "aria-labelledby"
>>> TO be visible?
>> No one, but there isn't much point in using aria-labelledby if you're

>> gonna hide the label.
>I can think of a couple:
>  * If the element is a heading element, the heading would still be
part of
>    the document outline and thus help people who navigate the document
>    headings instead of by landmarks.
>  * For users who don't use software that exposes the ARIA information
>    also doesn't apply CSS (e.g. Lynx), the label would be just as
>    as for those to whom the ARIA information is exposed.
>  * Search engines who don't look at ARIA markup would still get the
>> In that case, it'd be easier to use aria-label or  
>> @title.
>>  From the spec:
>> If the label text is visible on screen, authors SHOULD use aria- 
>> labelledby and SHOULD NOT use aria-label. Use aria-label only if the

>> interface is such that it is not possible to have a visible label on
>> screen.
>I disagree that the visibility should be considered. I would encourage
to always use aria-labelledby and, if the label should be hidden form
visual users, it should be hidden with CSS.
>Simon Pieters
>Opera Software
Jon Gunderson, Ph.D.
Coordinator Information Technology Accessibility
Disability Resources and Educational Services

Rehabilitation Education Center
Room 86
1207 S. Oak Street
Champaign, Illinois 61821

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Received on Wednesday, 20 May 2009 14:08:28 UTC