Testing WAI-ARIA Role Support

Posted on Thursday, 4 December 2008 by Steve Faulkner

For WAI-ARIA to be useful, to people with disabilities who use assistive technology, access to the information that ARIA roles and properties provides must be well supported across a range of browsers and assistive technologies. One of the activities going on over at codetalks is the development and testing of ARIA test cases. As part of this effort, I have been developing simple test cases for ARIA role support and testing them using the Firefox browser and a range of commonly used assistive software.

ARIA Roles

ARIA Roles are categorized as follows:

  1. Taxonomy Roles
  2. User Input Controls
  3. User Interface Elements
  4. Document Structure
  5. Specialized Regions

The taxonomy roles do not require implementaion testing as they are abstract definitions and not used in content. To understand how and if the other roles are correctly supported by browsers and assistive technology they need to be tested. I have so far carried out testing of the User Input Control roles with the latest version of JAWS, Window Eyes, NVDA, and Zoomtext.

ARIA user input role test results:

ARIA User Input Widget role tests – Firefox 3 + Assistive Technology

Further Reading


About Steve Faulkner

Steven is the Senior Web Accessibility Consultant and Technical Director, TPG Europe. He joined The Paciello Group in 2006 and was previously a Senior Web Accessibility Consultant at Vision Australia. He is the creator and lead developer of the Web Accessibility Toolbar accessibility testing tool. Steve is a member of several groups, including the W3C HTML Working Group and the W3C Protocols and Formats Working Group. He is an editor of several specifications at the W3C including HTML 5.1, Using WAI-ARIA in HTML and HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text alternatives. He also develops and maintains HTML5accessibility

Comments

  1. Many thanks Steve. As usual very informative. Are you planning to also write an article with an overview of information you present in the tables of Input Role Test Results and offer some general conclussions? I notice you turned off JAWS 10 auto form, is this because you found it a little problematic? I have only used JAWS 10 a couple of times and I must say I find the auto form feature a little frustrating.

  2. Hi Roger, the testing done so far, is only a small part fo that which needs to be done for ARIA Roles. I am slo ironing out kinks in the test design and results, so It though I would save the general conclusions for later. In regards to turning off the ‘auto forms’ mode, I recommend this as other wise it is difficult to get accurate results for JAWS 10 for ‘virtual PC cursor’ mode. I have read that users of JAWS 10 have found the auto forms mode to be annoying.

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