WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative – Accessible Rich Internet Applications) allows web pages (or portions of pages) to declare themselves as applications rather than as static documents, by adding role, property, and state information to dynamic web applications. ARIA is intended for use by developers of web applications, web browsers, assistive technologies, and accessibility evaluation tools

For a great first stop: Introduction to WAI-ARIA (Opera.com). Bit of an overview but goes into some usefully simple examples.

Secondly: WAI-ARIA (Alistapart.com)
It’s about a year and half since that’s been written and gets a little confusing when it doesn’t tell you which method you should use to make the attributes valid (DTD or XML schema).

But I know how much you guys love your validators so I just wanted really to point out what tags you can put in now through JS to be bring joy, love and showers of petals to our assistive technology using brethren.

The links get less readable from here on in;

  1. Managing Dynamic Changes (w3.org)
  2. Choosing Between Special Case Live Regions (w3.org)
  3. Form properties (w3.org)
  4. aria-invalid and role “alert” (marcozehe.de)

1 – Live regions, specify how updates to an area should be notified (or not notified at all) to the user
2 – Got an error pane, lightbox or some other fancy dan, ‘all your page are belong to us’ jazz? Whack one of these on to specify how irritatingly the user should be told about what just happened.
3&4 – form stuff, my favourite, put aria-required on if it’s required and aria-invalid on if it fails validation. As a bonus you can put described by to explain what it should contain but that’s where it starts getting a little hectic.

Browser support

The newest range support it (FF3, IE8 and Opera 9.6) handle the main properties for sure, Safari I’ve no idea. The big assistive programs all play ball… No promises on consistency though.

Update: this is the last month for feedback to the W3c on the ARIA working draft.

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