Exposing Application State to Assistive Technologies with WAI-ARIA

A session at HighEdWeb 2015 Technical Academy

Sunday 4th October, 2015

10:45am to 12:00pm (CST)

Assistive technologies use the HTML of page to build a separate document object model (AX Tree) that is exposed to output channels like a screen reader or braille device. Semantic HTML, a term you've surely encountered, enriches the AX Tree representation, but it is limited by the HTML specification. The Web Accessibility Initiative - Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) tools let us infuse our HTML with additional application semantics. If you have ever used an attribute/value like `role="main"` in your HTML, then you are already using WAI-ARIA! We will explore more advanced transformative attributes in this session and learn how to express our application state at the HTML layer, not just the presentation layer. Takeaways:

  • Learn the limits of semantic HTML.
  • Experience how an assistive technology experiences a page enriched with WAI-ARIA elements.
  • Quick fixes for divs and spans acting as application controls that can't be converted into semantic HTML just yet.
  • Tricks you can use in your code the next day. Seriously.

About the speaker

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Jesse Beach

Software Developer, Accessibility Specialist at Facebook

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Time 10:45am12:00pm CST

Date Sun 4th October 2015

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