Is ARIA A11y only? [Was: @aria-describedat at-risk ...]

There's an important question that's being lost when discussed in the
context of ARIA-DescribedAt (or the context of HTML Longdesc). We need a
clear consensus statement somewhere in our ARIA docs about whether, or
not ARIA is restricted for use by AT user agents via Accessibility APIs.

In other words, do we insist the curb cut is for wheel chairs only? All
skate boards and baby strollers must stay away.

It's probably the case that DescribedAt is the wrong context for this
larger policy question because it's so freighted with deeply entrenched
viewpoints and a long, contentious history in the form of HTML Longdesc.

However, other ARIA applications are shortly to emerge from our joint
efforts with the Digital Publishing Interest Group in the W3C which will
also raise the question of who can benefit from ARIA. This is why we
need a more widely applicable, and clearly articulated group consensus
on the question.

We have heard recently, and in years past the browser developers among
us say that keeping ARIA restricted to AAPIs explains much of their
success. Because there are not requirements on mainstream browsers, it's
been relatively easy to add ARIA support. Here's David Bolter on this
very question in 2012, though it, too, is hidden in discussion of
Longdesc and DescribedAt:

My personal view is that we should probably clarify our ARIA spec
language on this point. Where we currently have language such as "user
agents should" should be broken out into something along the lines of
"mainstream user agents may implement" with respect to their own UI, and
"should provide interfaces for AT applications via AAPIs."

Can we perhaps separate the DescribedAt conversation along these lines?
The feature itself, vs who's expected to do what with it as a separate
conversation about who's allowed to benefit from ARIA in general?



Janina Sajka,	Phone:	+1.443.300.2200

Linux Foundation Fellow
Executive Chair, Accessibility Workgroup:

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
Chair,	Protocols & Formats
	Indie UI

Received on Monday, 8 December 2014 18:14:42 UTC