Comparison of ARIA roles exposed via MSAA and UI Automation in IE9

Posted on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 by Steve Faulkner

The Microsoft MSAA API cannot provide mapping for all ARIA roles as it does not have defined roles and properties for all those defined by The ARIA specification, the Microsoft UI Automation API can. UI automation provides exposure of all WAI-ARIA roles and properties via the ControlType and AriaRole properties.

Testing UI Automation AriaRole support

The testing of IE9 shows no change in support compared to IE8, any changes in results are due to fixes in testing methodology.

Testing of the AriaRole properties support requires the Windows 7 operating system and the use of an updated inspect tool, currently only available as part of the Windows 7 SDK. Results from initial testing show that all possible ARIA role values are correctly exposed via the UI automation AriaRole property, but the stated mapping of the ARIA roles to UI automation ControlType is incomplete. I have also re-tested MSAA role mapping taking into account roles that Microsft documented as unsupported via MSAA:

  • 44 out of 49 – Of the 49 WAI-ARIA role (excluding abstract roles) values that can be mapped to MSAA: Internet explorer 9.0.8080.16413 maps 44 correctly.
  • 35 out of 50 – Of the 50 WAI-ARIA role (excluding abstract roles) values that can be mapped to UI automation ControlType: Internet explorer 9.0.8080.16413 maps 35 correctly.
  • 59 out of 59 – Of the 59 WAI-ARIA role (excluding abstract roles) values that can be mapped via UI automation AriaRole property: Internet explorer 9.0.8080.16413 maps 59 correctly.

Full Test Results: Comparison of ARIA roles exposed via MSAA and UI Automation in IE9

Further reading:

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. Hi alexander,
    I just tested aria-expanded on IE9, doesn’t work. The state is not exposed via MSAA at least. Wondered why you described it as “non-standard” when its an allowed attribute of role="button"? haven’t looked at aria-valuetext yet

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