RE: @aria-describedat at-risk in ARIA 1.1 heartbeat draft

Hi Alex,


So what about the language-agnostic component of ARIA - is that no longer considered a goal of ARIA; that it can be used with multiple markup languages? Because if that *IS* still a goal, then "moving it to HTML" isn't the answer. I've already posted an example in this thread of ARIA being used in SVG, and what I'm hearing you say is that isn't a valid use-case. Is that really your position?


               "ARIA is general tool which can be used to add accessibility to many different technologies," said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "It is used by HTML 5 now and is being built into additional W3C specifications. In the dynamic and interactive world of the web today, it essential to describe to accessibility software what the different parts of a web page do, so that users with disabilities can use them effectively."


(I'll also note  that ARIA already is under the "HTML5" umbrella, in the same way that MathML and SVG are part of "HTML5"…)


After a long and arduous debate, the consensus position at the W3C was to retain a functionality of linking an external file "longer text description" to a visual asset in HTML - @longdesc.  Adding aria-describedat to 1.1 is, in my mind, taking that same native HTML functionality, which the consensus process agreed was needed, and mapping it to the mark-up language agnostic ARIA, so that the functionality can also be extended to other languages that may currently lack this functionality natively.


Your statement seems to suggest that ARIA is reserved for those who are not part of the "all users" group (whatever that means). Personally, I have to categorically reject any notion that ARIA is reserved for non-sighted only users, and any objection to ARIA functionality that uses that as a basis of argument perpetuates the divide between "all users" - it seems to suggest that ARIA has no other use than to communicate to screen readers. Is that really your position/understanding? (And even if it is, I suggest that the functionality that aria-describedat delivers is unique, and still needs to be abstracted out for use in other mark-up languages.)





From: Alexander Surkov [] 
Sent: Tuesday, December 9, 2014 10:19 AM
To: Dominic Mazzoni
Cc: John Foliot; James Craig; WAI XTech; Michael[tm] Smith; Daniel Weck; Ted O'Connor; Janina Sajka
Subject: Re: @aria-describedat at-risk in ARIA 1.1 heartbeat draft


It looks like I should comment too. I think that if aria-describedat is a nice feature for any element and all users can benefit of it then it should be part of HTML5 spec.



On Mon, Dec 8, 2014 at 9:15 AM, Dominic Mazzoni <> wrote:

On Mon, Dec 8, 2014 at 9:04 AM, John Foliot <> wrote:

I think as well that your characterization of "dissent" w.r.t. Gecko and Blink
is, shall I say, somewhat exaggerated, but (again) I think we should ask these
actors directly, and neither you nor I assume anything.


Just to be clear, then, I officially object/dissent to the language "User agents should provide a device-independent mechanism to allow a user to..." used anywhere in the ARIA spec, because I feel the user agent directly providing to all users a user-level feature based on an ARIA attribute is a radical departure from the rest of the ARIA spec.


Resolutions I would be happy with include:

* Change the language so that aria-describedat is mapped to native accessibility APIs only, like the rest of ARIA

* Or, make it part of HTML5 and take ARIA out of the name




Received on Tuesday, 9 December 2014 20:27:11 UTC