Notes on ARIA use in HTML

First rule of ARIA use

If you can use a native HTML element [[!HTML5]] or attribute with the semantics and behaviour you require already built in, instead of re-purposing an element and adding an ARIA role, state or property to make it accessible, then do so.

Under what circumstances may this not be possible?

Second rule of ARIA use

Do not change native semantics, unless you really have to.

For example: Developer wants to build a heading that's a button.

Do not do this:

<h1 role=button>heading button</h1>

Do this:

<h1><button>heading button</button></h1>

Or if you can't possibly use the correct element, do this:

<h1><span role=button>heading button</span></h1>

Note: if a non interactive element is used as the basis for an interactive element, developers have to add the semantics using ARIA and the appropriate interaction behaviour using scripting. In the case of a button, for example, it is much better and easier to Just use a (native HTML) button.

Note: it is OK to use native HTML elements, that have similar semantics to ARIA roles used, for fallback. For example, using HTML list elements for the skeleton of an ARIA enabled, scripted tree widget.

Third rule of ARIA use

All interactive ARIA controls must be usable with the keyboard.

If you create a widget that a user can click or tap or drag or drop or slide or scroll, a user must also be able to navigate to the widget and perform an equivalent action using the keyboard.

All interactive widgets must be scripted to respond to standard key strokes or key stroke combinations where applicable.

For example, if using role=button the element must be able to receive focus and a user must be able to activate the action associated with the element using both the enter (on WIN OS) or return (MAC OS) and the space key.

Refer to the keyboard and structural navigation and design patterns sections of the WAI-ARIA 1.0 Authoring Practices

Fourth rule of ARIA use

Do not use role="presentation" or aria-hidden="true" on a focusable element. Using either of these on a focusable element will result in some users focusing on 'nothing'.

Do not do this:

<button role=presentation>press me</button>

Do not do this:

<button aria-hidden="true">press me</button>

What does adding a role do to the native semantics?

Adding an ARIA role overrides the native role semantics in the accessibility tree which is reported via the accessibility API, and therefore ARIA indirectly affects what is reported to a screen reader or other assistive technology.

For example, this code in the HTML tree:

<h1 role=button>text</h1>

Becomes this in the accessibility tree:

<button>text</button>

What adding a role does not do

Adding an ARIA role will not make an element look or act differently for people not using assistive technology. It does not change the behaviours, states and properties of the host element but only the native role semantics.

For example, this code in the HTML tree:

<button role=heading aria-level=1>text</button>

Becomes this in the accessibility tree:

<h1>text</h1>

But it can still be pressed, it is still in the default tab order, still looks like a button and still triggers any associated actions when pressed. That's why it is a HTML5 conformance error to change a button into a heading.

Note: Changing the role of an element does not add behaviors, properties or states to the role used. ARIA does not change the way it looks or acts in a browser. For instance, when links are used to behave like buttons, adding role=button alone is not sufficient. It will also be necessary to make act like a button, by including a key event handler that listens for the space key which native buttons do, because native buttons can be activated using the enter key or the spacebar.

Add ARIA inline or via script?

If the ARIA role or aria-* attribute does not rely on scripting to provide interaction behaviour, then it is safe to include the ARIA markup inline. For example, it is fine to add ARIA landmark roles or ARIA labelling and describing attributes inline. If the content and interaction is only supported in a scripting-enabled browsing context, i.e. Google docs (its applications require JavaScript enabled to work), it is safe to include the ARIA markup inline.

Otherwise insert, change and remove ARIA via scripting. For instance, a collapsed section of a tree widget might look like this:

<li role=treeitem aria-expanded=false ...

When the user opens the section, it is changed to this using JavaScript :

<li role=treeitem aria-expanded=true ...

ARIA validation

The easiest method is to use the HTML5 DOCTYPE with ARIA markup and validate using the W3C Nu Markup Validation Service. ARIA works equally well with any other DOCTYPE, but validation tools will produce errors when they encounter ARIA markup as the associated DTDs have not been updated to recognise ARIA markup and it is unlikely they ever will be.

These validation errors in versions of HTML prior of HTML5 are in no way indicative of ARIA creating any real world accessibility problems nor do they mean there will be a negative user experience. They are merely the result of old automated validation tests that do not accommodate ARIA accessibility annotations.

Note: The W3C Nu Markup Validation Service support for ARIA checking is a work in progress, so cannot be wholly relied upon to provide the correct results. It is recommended that if you encounter a result that conflicts with the ARIA conformance requirements in the ARIA specification or the HTML5 specification, please raise a bug report.

Use of role=presentation

role=presentation removes the semantics from the element it is on.

For example, this code in the HTML tree:

<h1 role=presentation>text</h1>

Becomes this in the accessibility tree:

<>text</>

In other words, it is just reported in the accessibility tree as a text string with no semantic meaning.

For elements with no required children, any elements nested inside the element with role=presentation preserve their semantics.

For example, this code in the HTML tree:

<h1 role=presentation><abbr>API</abbr></h1>

Becomes this in the accessibility tree:

<><abbr>API</abbr></>

For elements with required children (such as ul or table) any required child elements nested inside the element with role=presentation also have their semantics removed.

For example, this code in the HTML tree:

<table role=presentation>
<tr><td><abbr>API</abbr></td><tr>
</table>

Becomes this in the accessibility tree:

<>
<><><abbr>API</abbr></></>
</>

Note: Any elements that are not required children of the element with a role=presentation keep their semantics. This includes other elements with required children such as nested lists or nested tables.

For example, this code in the HTML tree:

<table role=presentation">
<tr><td>
<table>
<tr><td><abbr>API</abbr></td><tr>
</table>
</td><tr>
</table>

Becomes this in the accessibility tree:

<>
<><>
<table>
<tr><td><abbr>API</abbr></td><tr>
</table>
</><>
</>

aria-labelledby and aria-describedby

Currently aria-labelledby and aria-describedby are more robustly supported for associating text content to a subset of interactive content elements. As of this writing they do not work correctly on links [EDITOR: add blocking bug link?], support on embedded content is unknown, but can be safely used on form controls including the many input types.

In Internet Explorer, if you use aria-labelledby with multiple id references or aria-describedby with single or multiple id references, the referenced elements must be what Microsoft terms as accessible HTML elements.[EDITOR: add blocking bug link?]

The following example of aria-labelledby with multiple references uses the label element as it makes sense and it's an accessible element (in IE terms). The example could have used a span (for example) but then tabindex=-1 would have to be added. Refer to Making Non accessible Elements Accessible.

<label id="l1" for="f3">label text</label>

<input type="text" id="f3" aria-labelledby="l1 l2">

<p>other content</p>

<label id="l2">more label text</label>

Note: The use of the <label> element is included for a number of reasons. If the user clicks on the text of the label element, the corresponding form field will receive focus, which makes the clicking target larger for people with dexterity problems. Also using the <label> element ensures it will be included in the accessibility tree. A span could have been used but if so, it should receive a tabindex="-1" so that it will be included in the accessibility tree. However, IT would then lose the advantage of the larger clickable region. Elements also become accessible HTML elements in Internet Explorer when the element has an ARIA role. For example:

<div aria-describedby="test" tabindex="0">text</div>

<div id="test" role="tooltip">tooltip text</div>

Using ARIA role=application

How does role="appliction" affect a screen reader?

On many popular screen readers today, most keystrokes are captured by the screen reader and not the web page when the user is in browse mode. This is necessary for efficient navigation of a page. As of this writing, when application mode is set, many screen reader stop intercepting keystrokes, and pass all keystrokes directly to the browser. Then the user won't be able to navigate the page as easily. For instance they won't be able to skip around the page by headings or read a paragraph of static text line-by-line. However, several screen readers do not behave differently when there is an application role set.

So when should I use it, and when not?

In determining when to use role=application, one should consider, among other things, the advantages of screen reader keyboard shortcuts weighed against the loss of those features. It generally should not be used, and if it is, usability testing with screen reader users should be conducted.

You do not use role="application" if a set of controls only contains these widgets, that are all part of standard HTML. This also applies if you mark them up and create an interaction model using WAI-ARIA roles instead of standard HTML widgets:

NOTE: It's not recommended that authors develop custom text input widgets. It's almost always best to use the native inputs for these.

You also do not use the application role if your widget is one of the following more dynamic and non-native widgets. Screen readers and other assistive technologies that support WAI-ARIA will support switching between browse and focus modes for these by default too:

You only want to use role=application if the content you’re providing consists of only focusable, interactive controls, and of those, mostly advanced widgets that emulate a real desktop application. Note that, despite many things now being called a web application, most of the content these web applications work with are still document-based information, be it Facebook posts and comments, blogs, Twitter feeds, or even accordions that show and hide certain types of information dynamically. We primarily still deal with documents on the web, even though they may have a desktop-ish feel to them on the surface.

It is not necessary to use role=application to have control-specific keyboard shortcuts while the user is in forms (focus) mode on their screen reader. For instance, a custom control with ARIA role=listbox can easily capture all keys pressed including arrow keys, while the user is interacting with it.

In short: The times when you actually will use role=application will probably be very rare!

So where do I put role=application in the rare cases it is useful?

Put it on the closest containing element of your widget, for example, the parent div of your element that is your outer most widget element. If that outer div wraps only widgets that need the application interaction model, this will make sure focus mode is switched off once the user tabs out of this widget.

Only put it on the body element if your page consists solely of a widget or set of widgets that all need the focus mode to be turned on. If you have a majority of these widgets, but also have something you want the user to browse, use role=document on the outer-most element of this document-ish part of the page. It is the counterpart to role=application and will allow you to tell the screen reader to use browse mode for this part. Also make this element tabbable by setting a tabindex=0 on it so the user has a chance to reach it.

As a rule of thumb: If your page consists of over 90 or even 95 percent of widgets, role=application may be appropriate. Even then, find someone knowledgeable who can actually test two versions of this: One with and one without role=application set to see which model works best.

NEVER put role=application on a widely containing element such as body if your page consists mostly of traditional widgets or page elements such as links that the user does not have to interact with in focus mode. This will cause huge headaches for any assistive technology user trying to use your site/application.

For further information on the use of role=application refer to If you use the WAI-ARIA role "application", please do so wisely!


Recommendations Table:

legend

'Should authors explicitly define default ARIA semantics? ' column

'What Other ARIA roles, states and properties may be used?' column

NONE = the element does not support ARIA roles, states and properties. This is usually because the element is not displayed in the document.

Recommended ARIA usage by HTML language feature
HTML language feature Default ARIA semantics Should authors explicitly define default ARIA semantics? What Other ARIA roles, states and properties may be used?
All elements varies varies Role: presentation, except focusable elements or those with the warning 'Not role=presentation' or those indicated: NONE
a element with a href role=link NO

Roles: button, checkbox, menuitem, menuitemcheckbox, menuitemradio, tab, or treeitem

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

Not role=presentation

address NONE N/A

Role:contentinfo
Any global aria-* attributes

area with a href role=link NO

Any aria-* attributes applicable to the link role. Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

article role=article YES note 0

Roles: presentation, article, document, application, or main.
Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

Note 0: NO if a child of an article element or being used to mark up comments.

aside role=complementary YES

Roles: note, complementary, or search.

Any global aria-* attributes

audio NONE N/A

Role: application
Any aria-* attributes applicable to the application role. Any global aria-* attributes

base NONE N/A NONE
body role=document NO Any global aria-* attributes
button role=button NO note 0a

Roles: link, menuitem, menuitemcheckbox, menuitemradio, radio.
Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

Note 0a: YES If the aria-pressed attribute is being used on the button element

Not role=presentation

button type="menu" role=button with aria-haspopup=true NO note 0b

Roles: link, menuitem, menuitemcheckbox, menuitemradio, radio.
Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

Note 0b: YES If button type="menu" is being used in a scripted polyfil

Not role=presentation

caption NONE N/A Any global aria-* attributes

col, colgroup

NONE N/A NONE
datalist role=listbox, with aria-multiselectable=false NO note 1

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the listbox role.

Note 1: YES If datalist is being used in a scripted polyfill.

There is no direct ARIA role match for description lists, so it's in appropriate to override the native role in this case unless the author is retrofitting an improper use of the DL element.

dd, dt NONE N/A Any global aria-* attributes
details role=group YES Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the group role.
dialog element with no open attribute role=dialog, with aria-hidden =true YES

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the dialog role. (Recommend using hidden/CSS display:none instead of aria-hidden)

Not role=presentation

div NONE N/A

Role: Any

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

Note: It is recommended that any scripted widgets use the semantically neutral div or span elements unless HTML elements with native semantics are being used as fallback.

dl role=list NO

Any global aria-* attributes

embed NONE N/A

Role: application, document, or img

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

figure NONE N/A

Role:Any, recommend role=group

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

footer NONE N/A

Use contentinfo role for the main footer on a page.

Any global aria-* attributes

form role=form NO

Any global aria-* attributes

grouping content elements not listed elsewhere:

p, pre, blockquote

NONE N/A

Role: any

Note: Although the listed elements do not have any default ARIA semantics they do have meaning and this meaning may be represented in roles, states and properties not provided by ARIA, but present in accessibility APIs. It is therefore recommended that authors consider adding a role attribute to a semantically neutral element such as a div or span, rather than overriding the semantics of the listed elements. Refer to the Second rule of ARIA use.

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

h1 to h6 element role=heading, with the aria-level = element's outline depth NO Any global aria-* attributes
head NONE N/A NONE
header NONE YES

Use banner role for the main header on a page.

Any global aria-* attributes

hr role=separator NO Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the separator role.
html NONE N/A NONE
iframe NONE N/A

Role: application, document, or img

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

iframe (seemless) EDITOR: okay to override with any general grouping role. N/A

Role: application, document, or img

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

img with alt="" role=presentation NO NONE
img with alt="some text" role=img NO

Role: Any

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

input type= button role=button NO note 1b

Role: link, menuitem, menuitemcheckbox, menuitemradio, radio

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

Note 1a: YES If the aria-pressed attribute is being used on the input type=button element

Not role=presentation

input type= checkbox aria-checked=mixed if the element's indeterminate IDL attribute is true, or aria-checked=true if checked attribute is present. NO note 2

Any global aria-* attributes

Note 2: YES If you are using aria-checked="mixed" on an input type=checkbox to convey the 3rd state for a tri-state checkbox.

Not role=presentation

input type = color NONE N/A

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

input type = date NONE N/A

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

input type = datetime NONE N/A

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

input type = datetime-local NONE N/A

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

input type = email with no list attribute role=textbox NO

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

input type = file NONE N/A

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

input type = hidden NONE N/A NONE
input type= image role=button NO note 2a

Role: link, menuitem, menuitemcheckbox, menuitemradio, radio

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

Note 2a: YES If the aria-pressed attribute is being used on the input type=image element

Not role=presentation

input type = month NONE N/A

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

input type = number role=spinbutton, the aria-valuemax = maximum, the aria-valuemin = minimum, and, if the result of applying the rules for parsing floating point number values to the element's value is a number, with the aria-valuenow property set to that number NO note 3

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the spinbutton role.

Note 3: YES If input type=number is being used in a scripted polyfill.

It is okay to use aria-valuetext, with or without an explicit role.

Not role=presentation

input type = password role=textbox NO

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

input type = radio role=radio NO

Role: menuitemradio

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the menuitemradio role.

Not role=presentation

input type = range role=slider role, with the aria-valuemax= maximum, the aria-valuemin = minimum, and the aria-valuenow property set to the result of applying the rules for parsing floating point number values to the element's value, if that results in a number, or the default value otherwise NO note 4

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the slider role.

Note 4: YES If input type=range is being used in a scripted polyfill.

It is okay to use aria-valuetext, with or without an explicit role.

Not role=presentation

input type= reset button role NO

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

input type = search, with no list attribute textbox role NO

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

input type = submit button role NO

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

input type = tel with no list attribute textbox role NO

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

input type = text with no list attribute textbox role NO

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

input type = text, search, tel, url, or email with a list attribute combobox role, with the aria-owns property set to the same value as the list attribute NO note 5

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the combobox role.

Note 5: YES If input is being used in a scripted polyfill.

Not role=presentation

input type= time NONE NO

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

input type = url with no list attribute textbox role NO

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

input type = week NONE NO

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

ins and del

NONE N/A

Role: any

Note: Although the listed elements do not have any default ARIA semantics they do have meaning and this meaning may be represented in roles, states and properties not provided by ARIA, but present in accessibility APIs. It is therefore recommended that authors consider adding a role attribute to a semantically neutral element such as a div or span, rather than overriding the semantics of the listed elements. Refer to the Second rule of ARIA use.

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

keygen NONE N/A

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

label NONE N/A Any global aria-* attributes
li element whose parent is an ol or ul role=listitem NO note 5a

Role: listitem, menuitem, menuitemcheckbox, menuitemradio, option, tab, or treeitem

Note 5a: YES if li element is a child of an ol or ul element with role=presentation

link element with a href role=link NO NONE
main role=main YES Any global aria-* attributes
map NONE N/A NONE
math YES Any global aria-* attributes
menu type = toolbar role=toolbar NO note 7

Note 7: YES if menu element is being used in a scripted polyfill.

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the toolbar role.

Not role=presentation

menuitem type = command role=menuitem NO note 7a

Note 7a: YES if menuitem element is being used in a scripted polyfill.

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the menuitem role.

Not role=presentation

menuitem type = checkbox role=menuitemcheckbox NO note 7b

Note 7b: YES if menuitem type = checkbox element is being used in a scripted polyfill.

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the menuitemcheckbox role.

Not role=presentation

menuitem type = radio role=menuitemradio NO note 7c

Note 7c: YES if menuitem type = radio element is being used in a scripted polyfill.

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the menuitemradio role.

Not role=presentation

meta NONE N/A NONE
meter role=progressbar N/A Any global aria-* attributes
nav role=navigation YES Any global aria-* attributes
noscript NONE N/A NONE
object NONE N/A

Role: application, document, or img

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

optgroup NONE N/A Any global aria-* attributes
option element that is in a list of options or that represents a suggestion in a datalist role=option, with aria-selected=true if the selected attribute is present, aria-selected=false otherwise. NO

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

ol role=list NO

Role: directory, listbox, menu, menubar, tablist, toolbar, tree

output role=status DEPENDS

Role: Any, use in conjunction with aria-live=polite

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

Note: If role="status" is added, it will force this to be a broadcasting live region. In some cases, this is fine, but if this is an element whose value changes constantly due to scripted updates rather than explicit user action (like a progressbar), it'd be more appropriate to set aria-live="off". Otherwise some AT users are going to find this very distracting, even impossible to use. Even "polite" live regions can be annoying if they are overused.

param NONE N/A NONE
progress progressbar role, with, if the progress bar is determinate, the aria-valuemax property set to the maximum value of the progress bar, the aria-valuemin property set to zero, and the aria-valuenow property set to the current value of the progress bar NO note 8

Note 8: YES if progress element is being used in a scripted polyfill.

it's okay to use aria-valuetext on this (e.g. "Step 2 of 10"), with or without an explicit role.

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the progressbar role.

script NONE N/A NONE
section role=region NO

Role: alert, alertdialog, application, contentinfo, dialog, document, log, marquee, search, or status

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

select element with a multiple attribute role=listbox, with aria-multiselectable=true NO

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

select element with no multiple attribute role=listbox, with aria-multiselectable=false NO

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

source NONE N/A NONE
span NONE N/A

Role: Any

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

Note: It is recommended that any scripted widgets use the semantically neutral div or span elements, unless HTML elements with native semantics are being used as fallback.

style NONE N/A NONE
SVG NONE N/A

Role: application, document, or img

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

summary NONE N/A

if summary element is being used in a scripted polyfill - Use role=button with aria-expanded="true" if the element's open attribute is present, aria-expanded="false" otherwise.

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the button role.

table NONE N/A

Role: any

Note 1: It is recommended to not override the table element with an ARIA role unless it is being used as part of a scripted data grid, then the ARIA grid role may be used.

Note 2: It is recommended that the table element not be used for layout purposes, but if it is, it is strongly recommended that role=presentation is used to hide the semantics of the table and its child elements, tr and td from assistive technology.

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

textarea role=textbox NO

Any global aria-* attributes

Not role=presentation

tbody, thead, tfoot

role=rowgroup No

Role: any

Note: addition of roles does not appear to have any effect upon these unrendered elements

Any global aria-* attributes

title NONE N/A NONE
td NONE N/A

Role: any

Note: It is recommended to not override the td element with an ARIA role unless it is being used as part of a scripted data grid, then the ARIA grdicell role may be used.

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

Text level semantic elements not listed elsewhere:

em, strong , small, s, cite, q , dfn, abbr, time, code, var, samp, kbd, sub and sup, i, b, u, mark , ruby, rt, rp, bdi, bdo, br, wbr

NONE N/A

Role: any

Note: Although the listed elements do not have any default ARIA semantics they do have meaning and this meaning may be represented in roles, states and properties not provided by ARIA, but present in accessibility APIs. It is therefore recommended that authors consider adding a role attribute to a semantically neutral element such as a div or span, rather than overriding the semantics of the listed elements. Refer to the Second rule of ARIA use.

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

th NONE N/A

Role: any

Note: It is recommended to not override the th element with an ARIA role unless it is being used as part of a scripted data grid, then the ARIA columnheader or rowheaderrole may be used.

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

tr

NONE N/A

Role: any

Note: It is recommended to not override the tr element with an ARIA role unless it is being used as part of a scripted data grid, then the ARIA row role may be used.

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

track NONE N/A NONE
ul role=list NO

Role: directory, group, listbox, menu, menubar, tablist, toolbar, tree, presentation

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the allowed roles

video NONE N/A

Role: application

Any global aria-* attributes and any aria-* attributes applicable to the application role.

Element with a disabled attribute aria-disabled="true" NO

Use the disabled attribute on any element that is allowed the disabled attribute in HTML5.

Only use the aria-disabled attribute for elements that are not allowed to have a disabled attribute in HTML5

Element with an inert attribute aria-hidden="true" YES (DEPENDS)

Any global aria-* attributes

Note:Inert content is used for things like the background contents while showing a modal dialog. In this case, it would be appropriate and recommended to use aria-hidden="true"… If there are cases where inert is being used to deactivate foreground content that is still intended for consumption, @inert should be combined with an explicit aria-hidden="false" to override the default rendering engine behavior.

Element with a required attribute The aria-required="true" Yes

Use the aria-required attribute on any element that is allowed the required attribute in HTML5.

Also use the aria-required attribute for elements that have an attached ARIA role which allows the aria-required attribute.

Element with a readonly attribute aria-readonly=true NO

Use the readonly attribute on any element that is allowed the readonly attribute in HTML5.

Only use the aria-disabled attribute for elements that are not allowed to have a readonly attribute in HTML5

Element with a hidden attribute aria-hidden=true NO Use the hidden attribute in conjunction with the CSS display:none property
Element is natively focusable (links, buttons, etc.) NONE NO Not role=presentation
Element is not natively focusable (li, span, div, etc.) DEPENDS YES Not role=presentation

For example, <span tabindex="0"> is focusable but has no role in most rendering engines. Needs a role in many cases. (NEED TO GIVE EXAMPLES).

Element that is a candidate for constraint validation but that does not satisfy its constraints aria-invalid=true NO

Only use the aria-invalid=true attribute after form has been validated, setting it prior means users think the field is invalid before they even input data or interact with it.

(Editor's NOTE) Provide link to what HTML defines what constitutes the user has interacted with the control "significantly." ARIA defines aria-invalid="grammar" and aria-invalid="spelling"


ARIA Role, State, and Property Quick Reference

(Reformatted and reorganized information from: Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.0)

In addition to the states and properties shown in the table, the following global states and properties are supported on all roles.

Global states and properties

ARIA Roles, States and Properties
Role Description Required Properties Supported Properties -
Global +
alert A message with important, and usually time-sensitive, information. See related alertdialog and status. NONE
alertdialog A type of dialog that contains an alert message, where initial focus goes to an element within the dialog. See related alert and dialog. NONE
application A region declared as a web application, as opposed to a web document. NONE
article A section of a page that consists of a composition that forms an independent part of a document, page, or site. NONE
banner A region that contains mostly site-oriented content, rather than page-specific content. NONE
button An input that allows for user-triggered actions when clicked or pressed. See related link. NONE
checkbox A checkable input that has three possible values: true, false, or mixed.
columnheader A cell containing header information for a column. NONE
combobox A presentation of a select; usually similar to a textbox where users can type ahead to select an option, or type to enter arbitrary text as a new item in the list. See related listbox.
complementary A supporting section of the document, designed to be complementary to the main content at a similar level in the DOM hierarchy, but remains meaningful when separated from the main content. NONE
contentinfo A large perceivable region that contains information about the parent document. NONE
definition A definition of a term or concept. NONE
dialog A dialog is an application window that is designed to interrupt the current processing of an application in order to prompt the user to enter information or require a response. See related alertdialog. NONE
directory A list of references to members of a group, such as a static table of contents. NONE
document A region containing related information that is declared as document content, as opposed to a web application. NONE
form A landmark region that contains a collection of items and objects that, as a whole, combine to create a form. See related search. NONE
grid A grid is an interactive control which contains cells of tabular data arranged in rows and columns, like a table. NONE
gridcell A cell in a grid or treegrid. NONE
group A set of user interface objects which are not intended to be included in a page summary or table of contents by assistive technologies. NONE
heading A heading for a section of the page. NONE
img A container for a collection of elements that form an image. NONE
An interactive reference to an internal or external resource that, when activated, causes the user agent to navigate to that resource. See related button. NONE
list A group of non-interactive list items. See related listbox. NONE
listbox A widget that allows the user to select one or more items from a list of choices. See related combobox and list. NONE
listitem A single item in a list or directory. NONE
log A type of live region where new information is added in meaningful order and old information may disappear. See related marquee. NONE
main The main content of a document. NONE
marquee A type of live region where non-essential information changes frequently. See related log. NONE
math Content that represents a mathematical expression. NONE
menu A type of widget that offers a list of choices to the user. NONE
menubar

A presentation of menu that usually remains visible and is usually presented horizontally.

Authors SHOULD ensure that menubar interaction is similar to the typical menu bar interaction in a desktop graphical user interface.It is NOT really intended to mark up site navigation list items

NONE
menuitem An option in a group of choices contained by a menu or menubar. NONE
menuitemcheckbox A checkable menuitem that has three possible values: true, false, or mixed.
menuitemradio A checkable menuitem in a group of menuitemradio roles, only one of which can be checked at a time.
navigation A collection of navigational elements (usually links) for navigating the document or related documents. NONE
note A section whose content is parenthetic or ancillary to the main content of the resource. NONE
option A selectable item in a select list. NONE
presentation An element whose implicit native role semantics will not be mapped to the accessibility API. NONE
progressbar An element that displays the progress status for tasks that take a long time. NONE
radio A checkable input in a group of radio roles, only one of which can be checked at a time.
radiogroup A group of radio buttons. NONE
region A large perceivable section of a web page or document, that the author feels is important enough to be included in a page summary or table of contents, for example, an area of the page containing live sporting event statistics. NONE
row A row of cells in a grid. NONE
rowgroup A group containing one or more row elements in a grid. NONE
rowheader A cell containing header information for a row in a grid. NONE
scrollbar A graphical object that controls the scrolling of content within a viewing area, regardless of whether the content is fully displayed within the viewing area.
search A landmark region that contains a collection of items and objects that, as a whole, combine to create a search facility. See related form. NONE
separator A divider that separates and distinguishes sections of content or groups of menuitems.
  • NONE
slider A user input where the user selects a value from within a given range.
spinbutton A form of range that expects the user to select from among discrete choices.
status A container whose content is advisory information for the user but is not important enough to justify an alert, often but not necessarily presented as a status bar. See related alert. NONE
tab A grouping label providing a mechanism for selecting the tab content that is to be rendered to the user. NONE
tablist A list of tab elements, which are references to tabpanel elements. NONE
tabpanel A container for the resources associated with a tab, where each tab is contained in a tablist. NONE
textbox Input that allows free-form text as its value. NONE
timer A type of live region containing a numerical counter which indicates an amount of elapsed time from a start point, or the time remaining until an end point. NONE
toolbar A collection of commonly used function buttons represented in compact visual form. NONE
tooltip A contextual popup that displays a description for an element. NONE
tree A type of list that may contain sub-level nested groups that can be collapsed and expanded. NONE
treegrid A grid whose rows can be expanded and collapsed in the same manner as for a tree. NONE
treeitem An option item of a tree. This is an element within a tree that may be expanded or collapsed if it contains a sub-level group of treeitems. NONE

Definitions of States and Properties (all aria-* attributes)

Below is an alphabetical list of ARIA states and properties to be used by rich internet application authors. A detailed definition of each ARIA state and property can be found by following the attribute links (to their definitions in Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.0.

aria-activedescendant
Identifies the currently active descendant of a composite widget.
aria-atomic
Indicates whether assistive technologies will present all, or only parts of, the changed region based on the change notifications defined by the aria-relevant attribute. See related aria-relevant.
aria-autocomplete
Indicates whether user input completion suggestions are provided.
aria-busy (state)
Indicates whether an element, and its subtree, are currently being updated.
aria-checked (state)
Indicates the current "checked" state of checkboxes, radio buttons, and other widgets. See related aria-pressed and aria-selected.
aria-controls
Identifies the element (or elements) whose contents or presence are controlled by the current element. See related aria-owns.
aria-describedby
Identifies the element (or elements) that describes the object. See related aria-labelledby.
aria-disabled (state)
Indicates that the element is perceivable but disabled, so it is not editable or otherwise operable. See related aria-hidden and aria-readonly.
aria-dropeffect
Indicates what functions can be performed when the dragged object is released on the drop target. This allows assistive technologies to convey the possible drag options available to users, including whether a pop-up menu of choices is provided by the application. Typically, drop effect functions can only be provided once an object has been grabbed for a drag operation as the drop effect functions available are dependent on the object being dragged.
aria-expanded (state)
Indicates whether the element, or another grouping element it controls, is currently expanded or collapsed.
aria-flowto
Identifies the next element (or elements) in an alternate reading order of content which, at the user's discretion, allows assistive technology to override the general default of reading in document source order.
aria-grabbed (state)
Indicates an element's "grabbed" state in a drag-and-drop operation.
aria-haspopup
Indicates that the element has a popup context menu or sub-level menu.
aria-hidden (state)
Indicates that the element and all of its descendants are not visible or perceivable to any user as implemented by the author. See related aria-disabled.
aria-invalid (state)
Indicates the entered value does not conform to the format expected by the application.
aria-label
Defines a string value that labels the current element. See related aria-labelledby.
aria-labelledby
Identifies the element (or elements) that labels the current element. See related aria-label and aria-describedby.
aria-level
Defines the hierarchical level of an element within a structure.
aria-live
Indicates that an element will be updated, and describes the types of updates the user agents, assistive technologies, and user can expect from the live region.
aria-multiline
Indicates whether a text box accepts multiple lines of input or only a single line.
aria-multiselectable
Indicates that the user may select more than one item from the current selectable descendants.
aria-orientation
Indicates whether the element and orientation is horizontal or vertical.
aria-owns
Identifies an element (or elements) in order to define a visual, functional, or contextual parent/child relationship between DOM elements where the DOM hierarchy cannot be used to represent the relationship. See related aria-controls.
aria-posinset
Defines an element's number or position in the current set of listitems or treeitems. Not required if all elements in the set are present in the DOM. See related aria-setsize.
aria-pressed (state)
Indicates the current "pressed" state of toggle buttons. See related aria-checked and aria-selected.
aria-readonly
Indicates that the element is not editable, but is otherwise operable. See related aria-disabled.
aria-relevant
Indicates what user agent change notifications (additions, removals, etc.) assistive technologies will receive within a live region. See related aria-atomic.
aria-required
Indicates that user input is required on the element before a form may be submitted.
aria-selected (state)
Indicates the current "selected" state of various widgets. See related aria-checked and aria-pressed.
aria-setsize
Defines the number of items in the current set of listitems or treeitems. Not required if all elements in the set are present in the DOM. See related aria-posinset.
aria-sort
Indicates if items in a table or grid are sorted in ascending or descending order.
aria-valuemax
Defines the maximum allowed value for a range widget.
aria-valuemin
Defines the minimum allowed value for a range widget.
aria-valuenow
Defines the current value for a range widget. See related aria-valuetext.
aria-valuetext
Defines the human readable text alternative of aria-valuenow for a range widget.

Abstract roles

Do not use the following abstract roles as they do not do anything!

The following roles are used to support the WAI-ARIA role taxonomy for the purpose of defining general role concepts. Abstract roles are used for the ontology. Authors MUST NOT not use abstract roles in content.