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Developers Learn How WAI-ARIA Can Improve Accessibility

This article applies to: Web Accessibility

ARIA aids screen reader users by assisting in the rendering of non-visual aspects of your website. The Web Accessibility Initiative-Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) is a technical specification published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that specifies how to increase the accessibility of webpages. This includes increasing the accessibility of dynamic content and user interface components developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript, and related technologies.

The following information can be added to webpages using WAI-ARIA: 

  • Roles to describe the type of widget presented, such as "menu," "treeitem," "slider," and "progressbar."
  • Roles to describe the structure of the webpage, such as headings, regions, search areas, and navigation areas.
  • Properties to describe the state widgets are in, such as "checked" for a check box, "haspopup" for a menu that renders a sub-menu or other popup, and "expanded/collapsed" for a tree node.
  • Properties to define live regions of a page that are likely to get updates, such as stock quotes, as well as an interruption policy for those updates.
  • Properties for drag-and-drop that describe drag sources and drop targets.
  • A method to provide keyboard navigation for rich internet widgets.

Using WAI-ARIA incorrectly can misrepresent the visual experience of your website, potentially making it less accessible. To use WAI-ARIA correctly and to meet compliance use the resources below.

For more information on WAI-ARIA you can visit:

WebAIM Checklist

WAI-ARIA Overview

WAI-ARIA Authoring Practices

ARIA Cheatsheet

About this Article

Last updated: 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - 9:12am

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