WAI-ARIA

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.

The adoption of rich internet technologies such as Dojo, jQuery and YUI has increased the overall usability of websites but many of these features are not usable by people with disabilities.  WAI-ARIA is a coding specification from the W3C that defines attributes that can be added to HTML elements to communicate key information to assistive technology to make these components understandable and accessible.

Today, there is varying levels of support within browsers and assistive technology but usage is increasing (See WAI-ARIA usage statistics published by BuildWith).  Interactive Accessibility recommends using WAI-ARIA but caution should be used and only those with good level of support across asssitive technology should be used. 

WAI-ARIA Assistive Technology Support

  1. JAWS screen reader supports WAI-ARIA (Word Document)

WAI-ARIA Reference Documents

For more information on WAI-ARIA see:

 

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