WAI-ARIA

WAI-ARIA provides semantics designed to allow an author to properly convey user interface behaviors and structural information to assistive technologies in document-level markup. WAI-ARIA 1.1 adds features to WAI-ARIA 1.0 to complete the HTML+ARIA accessibility model.

The new and updated working draft is open for review as they are looking for comments. WAI-ARIA 1.1 adds:

  • table roles and a model to distinguish tables from grids.
  • the “aria-roledescription” property to refine user understanding of roles.
  • changed applicability of “aria-readonly” and “aria-level”.
  • expanded explanation of “supported” vs. “required” states and properties.

Core Accessibility API Mappings (Core-AAM) and Accessible Name and Descriptions: Computation and API Mappings (AccName-AAM) provide support for the new WAI-ARIA 1.1 features as well as more complete accessibility API Mapping for other features. 

Several new accessibility improvements to Microsoft’s Office Online have been rolled out. The improvements give users who are blind or have low vision a better experience. Microsoft has improved the way screen readers interact with Office Online through the use of the WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative – Accessible Rich Internet Applications) web accessibility standard.

Microsoft has made other improvements over the past year as well. The following OfficeGarage videos demonstrate some of the improvements:

The W3C’s Protocols and Formats Working Group has published the first public working draft of API Mappings 1.1 (Core-AAM). It supports the updated working Draft of Accessible Rich Internet Application (WAI-ARIA 1.1). WAI-ARIA helps to improve the accessibility and interoperability of web content by providing an ontology of roles, states, and properties that developers can use to define accessible user interface elements. Core-AAM shows developers how user agents should expose semantics of content languages to accessibility APIs across multiple content technologies and includes much of WAI- ARIA.

For more information on WAI-ARIA see Kathy Wahlbin’s Introduction to WAI-ARIA

Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.0 is now a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Recommendation. Publishing WAI-ARIA is an important step making web content and application more accessible to people with disabilities. WAI-ARIA defines how developers of browsers, media players, mobile devices and assistive technologies (AT), and content developers can achieve better cross-platform accessibility. WAI-ARIA is introduce in the WAI-ARIA Overview.

More information on WAI-ARIA

The HTML working group at the W3C has published and updated working draft of Using WAI-ARIA in HTML.

A practical guide for developers, the document shows how to add accessibility information into HTML elements using the Accessible Rich Internet Applications specification known as WAI-ARIA. WAI-ARIA is a way to make Web content and Web application more accessible to people with disabilities. This new draft shows how to use WAI-ARIA with HTML5. It helps with dynamic content and advanced user interface controls that were developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript and related technologies.

Role Attribute 1.0 is now a completed Web Standard, published today as a W3C Recommendation. Role Attribute is an XML attribute that allows authors to add semantic information to documents. Role Attribute supports WAI-ARIA, the Accessible Rich Internet Applications technical specification for making dynamic, interactive web content accessible to people with disabilities.  

For details on the role attribute, see the Role Attribute 1.0 document.

Source:  W3C WAI

Web applications today are a challenge to make accessible because native HTML does not have the language to support all of the types of widgets added to Web pages. WAI-ARIA provides a way to add roles, states and properties to make RIA accessible to assistive technology such as screen readers.

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