WAI-ARIA Implementation in JavaScript UI Libraries – updated

Posted on Monday, 13 July 2009 by Steve Faulkner

A number of popular Javascript UI Libraries are in the process of adding WAI-ARIA support to their widgets and components. What is the current status and future plans for WAI-ARIA implementation in these libraries?

BBC Glow Widgets

Some of the Glow widgets have ARIA support:

The BBC Glow Library does not provide any documentation as to its conformance WCAG Guidelines.

Dojo (Dijit)

All Dojo 1.0 core widgets (Dijit) are claimed to be accessible via keyboard, ARIA, as well as in High Contrast mode.

DOJO provides an Accessibility Statement which states:

“While Dojo does not make an explicit claim of compliance to W3C WCAG 2.0 Level A or to US Section 508, every attempt has been made to meet those guidelines and to make the 1.0 and future versions of the core widget set, dijit, accessible to keyboard, low vision and assistive technology users. “


(Extjs) – It has been reported that there are “Accessibility improvements – Section 508 and ARIA support” in Ext JS version 3.0, but no details are provided. No documentation could be found on what ARIA is implemented and what aspects of Section 508 or the WCAG Guidelines Extjs conforms to.

There is an ARIA Enabled Tree example provided for the Ext JS version 3.0, but no other samples appear to have ARIA support.

The Ext GWT 2.0 Explorer contains some ARIA mark up, but it is unclear at this time which widgets have ARIA support added.

Fluid Infusion

Fluid Infusion includes ready-to-use components as well as a framework to build your own. Infusion combines JavaScript, CSS, HTML and user-centered design, rolling them all into a single package that sits on top of the popular jQuery toolkit.

Fluid Infusion components using ARIA:

Fluid infusion does not provide any documentation as to its conformance to Section 508 or WCAG Guidelines, but it does state that “assistive technology like screen readers are tested extensively with our codebase”

Google Web Toolkit

GWT 1.5 Widgets have ‘baked in’ ARIA roles and states, and methods to add ARIA role and properties. It is unclear what the extent of the ARIA implementation is, a quick review of the GWT Feature Showcase indicates ARIA use in many Widgets:

GWT Widgets that do not currently make use ARIA, on which users would benefit from its use include the Stack Panel, Basic pop up, Dialog box and Split Panels. GWT does not provide any documentation as to its conformance to Section 508 or WCAG Guidelines.

GWT ARIA Resources

JQuery UI

Use of ARIA is being actively worked on. JQuery have a UI accessibility sub-team, and a JQuery Accessibility email group. Limited ARIA support was introduced in version1.7.

ARIA enabled JQuery UI widgets:

Full ARIA implementation planned for JQuery UI version 2.0 (2009?). JQuery UI does not provide any documentation as to its conformance to Section 508 or WCAG Guidelines.

Yahoo! User Interface Library (YUI)

There are ARIA plugins for a number of YUI widgets. The following YUI widgets currently have an ARIA plugin (as of October 2008):

Yahoo! UI does not provide any documentation as to its conformance to Section 508 or WCAG Guidelines, though it has been suggested that “most of the widgets would stand a rigorous Section 508 testing”. Victor Tsaran, an accessibility engineer at Yahoo!, stated recently that further ARIA support will be implemented in the upcoming version of YUI (3.0).

Libraries with no implemented ARIA support

About Steve Faulkner

Steve 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


  1. Telerik claims WCAG 1.0 support, but it is barely that — I have used their stuff for a few years now and it is beginning to do my head in as I get more and more into web standards and CSS based layout (yeah I am a bit late to all that as I have started to realize how being stuck in the MS world means you are quite behind on web stuff…)

  2. Hi Steve,

    Great list of accessible toolkits! Here at the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, we’ve been core contributors to both the Dojo and jQuery accessibility efforts.

    Alongside this, we’ve created a new JavaScript application framework built on top of jQuery called Fluid Infusion. Infusion was created from the beginning with accessibility and usability in mind. Totally unobtrusive and markup-driven, Infusion lets developers and users alike customize our user interfaces to best suit their own needs.

    More information is available here:




  3. Hi Colin, thanks for the info, looks like fluid infusion is a great toolkit! I have added details about it to the artcile.

  4. Hi Josh, the claims of telerik component WCAG/508 conformance are somewhat misleading. I conducted a review for a client a few months back and found a number of issues. I also recently emailed telerik asking about plans for ARIA implementation in the telerik components, but did not receive an answer.

  5. Hi Steve.

    We’ve added several widgets since 1.0, and as required by the Dijit project, all public widgets are a11y compliant (Calendar, coming soon) Some work in dojox is also accessible as well, such as dojox.grid (with caveats). In DojoX, a11y is still a goal, but not a strict requirement.

    The explorer link, unfortunately, is not terribly well organized when it comes to Dijit to show the long list of accessible widget available. For a more complete list of widgets in Dijit, try http://docs.dojocampus.org/dijit/index

  6. It’s not a JavaScript UI library per-se, but has
    there been any movement in the JSF area in
    regards to adding wai-aria attributes to the
    tag libraries for basic JSF functionality?
    I can’t seem to find any references to work
    in that area.

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Dominic Mazzoni, Software Engineer – Accessibility, Google