Re: ARIA roles added to the a element should be conforming in HTML5.

On Sat, Nov 7, 2009 at 11:36 AM, John Foliot <> wrote:
> Jonas Sicking wrote:
>> Richard Schwerdtfeger wrote:
>>> All we are doing is allowing the author to convey their intent. Do I
>> wish
>>> authors would use html elements for their purpose? Of course. That is
>> not
>>> the world we live in. Whether we believe something is a cowpath is
>> really
>>> irrelevant. Industry thought HTML was only for documents in 1998 too.
>> Do you have any reason to believe that we'll be more successful in
>> asking authors to add a role attribute to the <a> than in asking them
>> to change to use a more appropriate element?
> Hi Jonas,
> We really have no reason to believe any given author will do anything
> right *or* wrong; experience tells us to expect both. The real question
> is, why impose limits when we don't really need to? Think inclusive, not
> restrictive.

So the theory is that if we give people more tools they are bound to
use one of them?

This to me feel similar to the philosophy of Perl: "There's more than
one way to do it". I personally favor the approach that python is
taking, which is "keep it clean and simple".

However, comparisons with programming languages don't necessarily
carry over to accessibility features. It's quite possible that for
accessibility features having more ways to do the same thing is

> We can see JS libraries do that (add a role attribute to the <a>) for the
> author if/when required (as one use-case: ARIA is/was designed primarily
> for "DHTML / AJAX").  Moreover, what real harm is caused by allowing to do
> so?

The harm that I see is loosing the ability to have a clear message for
what the right way to do things is.

> We can't envision all uses that authors might dream up moving
> forward: look at Bespin and Canvas - nobody really envisioned Bespin like
> use when Canvas was spec'd, yet here we are today.

I'll note that what Bespin did is not valid HTML 5. The spec says:

"Authors should not use the canvas  element in a document when a more
suitable element is available"

There is definitely more appropriate elements in this case, thus
Bespin is not valid HTML 5.

People will always experiment outside the bounds that we set up.
That's a good thing. However I don't think we should recommend people
build their apps that way given that there are more
accessibility-friendly ways of doing it.

/ Jonas

Received on Sunday, 8 November 2009 02:42:35 UTC