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


The ARIA task force did not reach consensus on this and you should not be
posting  what is at risk. I understand you have a personal issue on this
but that should not pass to group consensus.


Rich Schwerdtfeger

From:	James Craig <>
To:	Janina Sajka <>
Cc:	WAI XTech <>, Richard
            Schwerdtfeger/Austin/IBM@IBMUS, Dominic Mazzoni
Date:	12/08/2014 01:04 PM
Subject:	Re: Is ARIA A11y only? [Was: @aria-describedat at-risk ...]

> On Dec 8, 2014, at 10:46 AM, Janina Sajka <> wrote:
> James Craig writes:
>> On Dec 8, 2014, at 10:14 AM, Janina Sajka <> wrote:
>>> 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
>>> clear consensus statement somewhere in our ARIA docs about whether, or
>>> not ARIA is restricted for use by AT user agents via Accessibility
>>> In other words, do we insist the curb cut is for wheel chairs only? All
>>> skate boards and baby strollers must stay away.
>> This is a misinterpretation of the case against @aria-describedat. ARIA
has always been an accessibility-only approach. If you want to use the curb
cut analogy, native host language features are the curb cuts.
@aria-describedat may be more equivalent to the bolt-on wheelchair
elevators you sometimes see used to retrofit old staircases.
> No, I'm not trying to characterize your views about DescribedAt.

Okay, my mistake. It may have been better to start a new thread than
retitle the aria-describedat thread.

> I'm
> extracting one issue that ends up buried in among all kinds of
> discussion about DescribedAt as well as about Longdesc.
> I'm trying to clearly say that this same question is emerging from other
> contexts. I named Dpub as an additional source of additional ARIA that
> may be even attractive to mainstream.
>> The recommended approach (quoting from ARIA 1.0 Section 1.1):
> Exactly. That was 1.0..
> We've several times said we would revisit this concept in 1.1 and
> following. We need to do so apart from any particular feature.

I have heard Cynthia say that from time-to-time though not regarding any
specific feature.

For the record, I disagree with the idea to make ARIA change any mainstream
behavior of user agents.


> Janina
>>>> WAI-ARIA is intended to be used as a supplement for native language
semantics, not a replacement. When the host language provides a feature
that provides equivalent accessibility to the WAI-ARIA feature, use the
host language feature.
>> Using the native host language feature *is* the "curb cut" for everyone.
ARIA is not, and never has been, a feature for everyone. ARIA provides
amazing ability to retrofit legacy code and augment incomplete languages
(including HTML) with additional accessibility semantics, but ARIA has
never changed mainstream User Agent behavior.
>> Case in point: tabindex. TabIndex is not part of ARIA for the same
reason that @aria-describedat cannot be. It changes the behavior of the
browser in a way that affects everyone, so any feature that provides this
functionality MUST be part of the native host language.
>> James
>>> 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
>>> However, other ARIA applications are shortly to emerge from our joint
>>> efforts with the Digital Publishing Interest Group in the W3C which
>>> 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,
>>> 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,
>>> "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
>>> --
>>> Janina Sajka,		 Phone:		 +1.443.300.2200
>>> 		 		 Email:
>>> Linux Foundation Fellow
>>> Executive Chair, Accessibility Workgroup:
>>> The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
>>> Chair,		 Protocols & Formats
>>> 		 Indie UI
> --
> Janina Sajka,		 Phone:		 +1.443.300.2200
> 		 		 Email:
> Linux Foundation Fellow
> Executive Chair, Accessibility Workgroup:
> The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
> Chair,		 Protocols & Formats
> 		 Indie UI

Received on Tuesday, 9 December 2014 20:47:03 UTC