Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.3

W3C Editor's Draft

More details about this document
This version:
https://w3c.github.io/aria/
Latest published version:
https://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria-1.3/
Latest editor's draft:
https://w3c.github.io/aria/
History:
https://www.w3.org/standards/history/wai-aria-1.3/
Commit history
Latest Recommendation:
https://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria/
Editors:
James Nurthen (Adobe)
Peter Krautzberger (krautzource UG)
Daniel Montalvo (W3C)
Former editors:
Michael Cooper (W3C) (Editor until 2023)
Joanmarie Diggs (Igalia, S.L.) (Editor until 2021)
Shane McCarron (Spec-Ops) (Editor until 2018)
Richard Schwerdtfeger (Knowbility) (Editor until October 2017)
James Craig (Apple Inc.) (Editor until May 2016)
Feedback:
GitHub w3c/aria (pull requests, new issue, open issues)

Abstract

Accessibility of web content requires semantic information about widgets, structures, and behaviors, in order to allow assistive technologies to convey appropriate information to persons with disabilities. This specification provides an ontology of roles, states, and properties that define accessible user interface elements and can be used to improve the accessibility and interoperability of web content and applications. These semantics are designed to allow an author to properly convey user interface behaviors and structural information to assistive technologies in document-level markup. This version adds features new since WAI-ARIA 1.1 [wai-aria-1.1] to improve interoperability with assistive technologies to form a more consistent accessibility model for [HTML] and [SVG2]. This specification complements both [HTML] and [SVG2].

This document is part of the WAI-ARIA suite described in the WAI-ARIA Overview.

Status of This Document

This section describes the status of this document at the time of its publication. A list of current W3C publications and the latest revision of this technical report can be found in the W3C technical reports index at https://www.w3.org/TR/.

The Accessible Rich Internet Applications Working Group seeks feedback on any aspect of the specification. When submitting feedback, please consider issues in the context of the companion documents. To comment, file an issue in the W3C ARIA GitHub repository. If this is not feasible, send email to public-aria@w3.org (comment archive). In-progress updates to the document can be viewed in the publicly visible editors' draft.

This document was published by the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Working Group as an Editor's Draft.

Publication as an Editor's Draft does not imply endorsement by W3C and its Members.

This is a draft document and may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to cite this document as other than work in progress.

This document was produced by a group operating under the W3C Patent Policy. W3C maintains a public list of any patent disclosures made in connection with the deliverables of the group; that page also includes instructions for disclosing a patent. An individual who has actual knowledge of a patent which the individual believes contains Essential Claim(s) must disclose the information in accordance with section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy.

This document is governed by the 03 November 2023 W3C Process Document.

1. Introduction

This section is non-normative.

The goals of this specification include:

WAI-ARIA is a technical specification that provides a framework to improve the accessibility and interoperability of web content and applications. This document is primarily for developers creating custom widgets and other web application components. Please see the WAI-ARIA Overview for links to related documents for other audiences, such as ARIA Authoring Practices Guide [WAI-ARIA-PRACTICES-1.2] that introduces developers to the accessibility problems that WAI-ARIA is intended to solve, the fundamental concepts, and the technical approach of WAI-ARIA.

This document currently handles two aspects of roles: user interface functionality and structural relationships. For more information and use cases, see ARIA Authoring Practices Guide [WAI-ARIA-PRACTICES-1.2] for the use of roles in making interactive content accessible.

Roles defined by this specification are designed to support the roles used by platform accessibility APIs. Declaration of these roles on elements within dynamic web content is intended to support interoperability between the web content and assistive technologies that utilize accessibility APIs.

The schema to support this standard has been designed to be extensible so that custom roles can be created by extending base roles. This allows user agents to support at least the base role, and user agents that support the custom role can provide enhanced access. Note that much of this could be formalized in [XMLSCHEMA11-2]. However, being able to define similarities between roles, such as baseConcepts and more descriptive definitions, would not be available in XSD.

WAI-ARIA 1.2 is a member of the WAI-ARIA 1.2 suite that defines how to expose semantics of WAI-ARIA and other web content languages to accessibility APIs.

1.1 Rich Internet Application Accessibility

The domain of web accessibility defines how to make web content usable by persons with disabilities. Persons with certain types of disabilities use assistive technologies (AT) to interact with content. Assistive technologies can transform the presentation of content into a format more suitable to the user, and can allow the user to interact in different ways. For example, the user might need to, or choose to, interact with a slider widget via arrow keys, instead of dragging and dropping with a mouse. In order to accomplish this effectively, the software needs to understand the semantics of the content. Semantics is the science of meaning; in this case, used to assign roles, states, and properties that apply to user interface and content elements as a human would understand. For instance, if a paragraph is semantically identified as such, assistive technologies can interact with it as a unit separable from the rest of the content, knowing the exact boundaries of that paragraph. An adjustable range slider or collapsible list (a.k.a. a tree widget) are more complex examples, in which various parts of the widget have semantics that need to be properly identified for assistive technologies to support effective interaction.

New technologies often overlook semantics required for accessibility, and new authoring practices often misuse the intended semantics of those technologies. Elements that have one defined meaning in the language are used with a different meaning intended to be understood by the user.

For example, web application developers create collapsible tree widgets in HTML using CSS and JavaScript even though HTML has no semantic tree element. To a non-disabled user, it might look and act like a collapsible tree widget, but without appropriate semantics, the tree widget might not be perceivable to, or operable by, a person with a disability because assistive technologies might not recognize the role. Similarly, web application developers create interactive button widgets in SVG using JavaScript even though SVG has no semantic button element. To a non-disabled user, it might look and act like a button widget, but without appropriate semantics, the button widget might not be perceivable to, or operable by, a person with a disability because assistive technologies might not recognize the role.

The incorporation of WAI-ARIA is a way for an author to provide proper semantics for custom widgets to make these widgets accessible, usable, and interoperable with assistive technologies. This specification identifies the types of widgets and structures that are commonly recognized by accessibility products, by providing an ontology of corresponding roles that can be attached to content. This allows elements with a given role to be understood as a particular widget or structural type regardless of any semantics inherited from the implementing host language. Roles are a common property of platform accessibility APIs which assistive technologies use to provide the user with effective presentation and interaction.

The Roles Model includes interaction widgets and elements denoting document structure. The Roles Model describes inheritance and details the attributes each role supports. Information about mapping of roles to accessibility APIs is provided by the Core Accessibility API Mappings [CORE-AAM-1.2].

Roles are element types and will not change with time or user actions. Role information is used by assistive technologies, through interaction with the user agent, to provide normal processing of the specified element type.

States and properties are used to declare important attributes of an element that affect and describe interaction. They enable the user agent and operating system to properly handle the element even when the attributes are dynamically changed by client-side scripts. For example, alternative input and output technology, such as screen readers and speech dictation software, need to be able to recognize and effectively manipulate and communicate various interaction states (e.g., disabled, checked) to the user.

While it is possible for assistive technologies to access these properties directly through the Document Object Model [DOM], the preferred mechanism is for the user agent to map the states and properties to the accessibility API of the operating system. See the Core Accessibility API Mappings [CORE-AAM-1.2] and the Accessible Name and Description Computation [ACCNAME-1.2] for details.

Figure 1.0 illustrates the relationship between user agents (e.g., browsers), accessibility APIs, and assistive technologies. It describes the "contract" provided by the user agent to assistive technologies, which includes typical accessibility information found in the accessibility API for many of our accessible platforms for GUIs (role, state, selection, event notification, relationship information, and descriptions). The DOM, usually HTML, acts as the data model and view in a typical model-view-controller relationship, and JavaScript acts as the controller by manipulating the style and content of the displayed data. The user agent conveys relevant information to the operating system's accessibility API, which can be used by any assistive technologies, such as screen readers.

The contract model with accessibility APIs

Figure 1: The contract model with accessibility APIs

For more information see ARIA Authoring Practices Guide for the use of roles in making interactive content accessible.

Users of alternate input devices need keyboard accessible content. The new semantics, when combined with the recommended keyboard interactions provided in ARIA Authoring Practices Guide, will allow alternate input solutions to facilitate command and control via an alternate input solution.

WAI-ARIA introduces navigational landmarks through its Roles Model and the XHTML role landmarks, which can help persons with dexterity and vision impairments by providing for improved keyboard navigation. WAI-ARIA can also be used to assist persons with cognitive learning disabilities. The additional semantics allow authors to restructure and substitute alternative content as needed.

Assistive technologies need the ability to support alternative inputs by getting and setting the current value of widget states and properties. Assistive technologies also need to determine what objects are selected and manage widgets that allow multiple selections, such as list boxes and grids.

Speech-based command and control systems can benefit from WAI-ARIA semantics like the role attribute to assist in conveying audio information to the user. For example, upon encountering an element with a role of menu with child elements of role menuitem each containing text content representing a different flavor, a speech system might state to the user, "Select one of three choices: chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla."

WAI-ARIA is intended to be used as a supplement for native language semantics, not a replacement. When the host language provides a feature that provides equivalent accessibility to the WAI-ARIA feature, use the host language feature. WAI-ARIA should only be used in cases where the host language lacks the needed role, state, and property indicators. Use a host language feature that is as similar as possible to the WAI-ARIA feature, then refine the meaning by adding WAI-ARIA. For instance, a multi-selectable grid could be implemented as a table, and then WAI-ARIA used to clarify that it is an interactive grid, not just a static data table. This allows for the best possible fallback for user agents that do not support WAI-ARIA and preserves the integrity of the host language semantics.

1.2 Target Audience

This specification defines the basic model for WAI-ARIA, including roles, states, properties, and values. It impacts several audiences:

Each conformance requirement indicates the audience to which it applies.

Although this specification is applicable to the above audiences, it is not specifically targeted to, nor is it intended to be the sole source of information for, any of these audiences. The following documents provide important supporting information:

1.3 User Agent Support

WAI-ARIA relies on user agent support for its features in two ways:

Aside from using WAI-ARIA markup to improve what is exposed to accessibility APIs, user agents behave as they would natively. Assistive technologies react to the extra information in the accessibility API as they already do for the same information on non-web content. User agents that are not assistive technologies, however, need do nothing beyond providing appropriate updates to the accessibility API.

The WAI-ARIA specification neither requires nor forbids user agents from enhancing native presentation and interaction behaviors on the basis of WAI-ARIA markup. Mainstream user agents might expose WAI-ARIA navigational landmarks (for example, as a dialog box or through a keyboard command) with the intention to facilitate navigation for all users. User agents are encouraged to maximize their usefulness to users, including users without disabilities.

WAI-ARIA is intended to provide missing semantics so that the intent of the author can be conveyed to assistive technologies. Generally, authors using WAI-ARIA will provide the appropriate presentation and interaction features. Over time, host languages can add WAI-ARIA equivalents, such as new form controls, that are implemented as standard accessible user interface controls by the user agent. This allows authors to use them instead of custom WAI-ARIA enabled user interface components. In this case the user agent would support the native host language feature. Developers of host languages that implement WAI-ARIA are advised to continue supporting WAI-ARIA semantics when they do not adversely conflict with implicit host language semantics, as WAI-ARIA semantics more clearly reflect the intent of the author if the host language features are inadequate to meet the author's needs.

1.4 Co-Evolution of WAI-ARIA and Host Languages

WAI-ARIA is intended to augment semantics in supporting languages like [HTML] and [SVG2], or to be used as an accessibility enhancement technology in other markup-based languages that do not explicitly include support for ARIA. It clarifies semantics to assistive technologies when authors create new types of objects, via style and script, that are not yet directly supported by the language of the page, because the invention of new types of objects is faster than standardized support for them appears in web languages.

It is not appropriate to create objects with style and script when the host language provides a semantic element for that type of object. While WAI-ARIA can improve the accessibility of these objects, accessibility is best provided by allowing the user agent to handle the object natively. For example, it's better to use an h1 element in HTML than to use the heading role on a div element.

It is expected that, over time, host languages will evolve to provide semantics for objects that currently can only be declared with WAI-ARIA. This is natural and desirable, as one goal of WAI-ARIA is to help stimulate the emergence of more semantic and accessible markup. When native semantics for a given feature become available, it is appropriate for authors to use the native feature and stop using WAI-ARIA for that feature. Legacy content can continue to use WAI-ARIA, however, so the need for user agents to support WAI-ARIA remains.

While specific features of WAI-ARIA might lose importance over time, the general possibility of WAI-ARIA to add semantics to web pages is expected to be a persistent need. Host languages might not implement all the semantics WAI-ARIA provides, and various host languages can implement different subsets of the features. New types of objects are continually being developed, and one goal of WAI-ARIA is to provide a way to make such objects accessible, because authoring practices often advance faster than host language standards. In this way, WAI-ARIA and host languages both evolve together but at different rates.

Some host languages exist to create semantics for features other than the user interface. For example, SVG expresses the semantics behind production of graphical objects, not of user interface components that those objects can represent. Host languages might, by design, not provide native semantics that map to WAI-ARIA features. In these cases, WAI-ARIA could be adopted as a long-term approach to add semantic information to user interface components.

1.5 Authoring Practices

1.5.1 Authoring Tools

Many of the requirements in the definitions of WAI-ARIA roles, states, and properties can be checked automatically during the development process, similar to other quality control processes used for validating code. To assist authors who are creating custom widgets, authoring tools can compare widget roles, states, and properties to those supported in WAI-ARIA as well as those supported in related and cross-referenced roles, states, and properties. Authoring tools can notify authors of errors in widget design patterns, and can also prompt developers for information that cannot be determined from context alone. For example, a scripting library can determine the labels for the tree items in a tree view, but would need to prompt the author to label the entire tree. To help authors visualize a logical accessibility structure, an authoring environment might provide an outline view of a web resource based on the WAI-ARIA markup.

In both HTML and SVG, tabindex is an important way browsers support keyboard focus navigation for implementations of WAI-ARIA; authoring and debugging tools can check to make sure tabindex values are properly set. For example, error conditions can include cases where more than one treeitem in a tree has a tabindex value greater than or equal to 0, where tabindex is not set on any treeitem, or where aria-activedescendant is not defined when the element with the role tree has a tabindex value of greater than or equal to 0.

1.5.2 Testing Practices and Tools

The accessibility of interactive content cannot be confirmed by static checks alone. Developers of interactive content should test for device-independent access to widgets and applications, and should verify accessibility API access to all content and changes during user interaction.

1.6 Assistive Technologies

Programmatic access to accessibility semantics is essential for assistive technologies. Most assistive technologies interact with user agents, like other applications, through a recognized accessibility API. Perceivable objects in the user interface are exposed to assistive technologies as accessible objects, defined by the accessibility API interfaces. To do this properly, accessibility information – role, states, properties as well as contextual information – needs to be accurately conveyed to the assistive technologies through the accessibility API. When a state change occurs, the user agent provides the appropriate event notification to the accessibility API. Contextual information, in many host languages like HTML, can be determined from the DOM itself as it provides a contextual tree hierarchy.

While some assistive technologies interact with these accessibility APIs, others might access the content directly from the DOM. These technologies can restructure, simplify, style, or reflow the content to help a different set of users. Common use cases for these types of adaptations might be the aging population, persons with cognitive impairments, or persons in environments that interfere with use of their tools. For example, the availability of regional navigational landmarks can allow for a mobile device adaptation that shows only portions of the content at any one time based on its semantics. This could reduce the amount of information the user needs to process at any one time. In other situations it might be appropriate to replace a custom user interface control with something that is easier to navigate with a keyboard, or touch screen device.

2. Important Terms

This section is non-normative.

While some terms are defined in place, the following definitions are used throughout this document.

Accessibility API

Operating systems and other platforms provide a set of interfaces that expose information about objects and events to assistive technologies. Assistive technologies use these interfaces to get information about and interact with those widgets. Examples of accessibility APIs are Microsoft Active Accessibility [MSAA], Microsoft User Interface Automation [UI-AUTOMATION], MSAA with UIA Express [UIA-EXPRESS], the Mac OS X Accessibility Protocol [AXAPI], the Linux/Unix Accessibility Toolkit [ATK] and Assistive Technology Service Provider Interface [AT-SPI], and IAccessible2 [IAccessible2].

Accessible object

A node in the accessibility tree of a platform accessibility API. Accessible objects expose various states, properties, and events for use by assistive technologies. In the context of markup languages (e.g., HTML and SVG) in general, and of WAI-ARIA in particular, markup elements and their attributes are represented as accessible objects.

Assistive Technologies

Hardware and/or software that:

  • relies on services provided by a user agent to retrieve and render Web content
  • works with a user agent or web content itself through the use of APIs, and
  • provides services beyond those offered by the user agent to facilitate user interaction with web content by people with disabilities

This definition might differ from that used in other documents.

Examples of assistive technologies that are important in the context of this document include the following:

  • screen magnifiers, which are used to enlarge and improve the visual readability of rendered text and images;
  • screen readers, which are most-often used to convey information through synthesized speech or a refreshable Braille display;
  • text-to-speech software, which is used to convert text into synthetic speech;
  • speech recognition software, which is used to allow spoken control and dictation;
  • alternate input technologies (including head pointers, on-screen keyboards, single switches, and sip/puff devices), which are used to simulate the keyboard;
  • alternate pointing devices, which are used to simulate mouse pointing and clicking.
Deprecated

A deprecated role, state, or property is one which has been outdated by newer constructs or changed circumstances, and which might be removed in future versions of the WAI-ARIA specification. user agents are encouraged to continue to support items identified as deprecated for backward compatibility. For more information, see Deprecated Requirements in the Conformance section.

Defines

Used in an attribute description to denote that the value type is an integer, number, or string.

Related Terms: Identifies, Indicates

Desktop focus event

Event from/to the host operating system via the accessibility API, notifying of a change of input focus.

Event

A programmatic message used to communicate discrete changes in the state of an object to other objects in a computational system. User input to a web page is commonly mediated through abstract events that describe the interaction and can provide notice of changes to the state of a document object. In some programming languages, events are more commonly known as notifications.

Expose

Translated to platform-specific accessibility APIs as defined in the Core Accessibility API Mappings.

Graphical Document

A document containing graphic representations with user-navigable parts. Charts, maps, diagrams, blueprints, and dashboards are examples of graphical documents. A graphical document is composed using any combination of symbols, images, text, and graphic primitives (shapes such as circles, points, lines, paths, rectangles, etc).

Hidden

Indicates that the element is excluded from the accessibility tree and therefore not exposed to accessibility APIs.

Related: Excluding Elements in the Accessibility Tree, hidden from all users, aria-hidden.

Hidden From All Users

Indicates that the element is not visible, perceivable, or interactive for any user. Note that an element can be hidden but not hidden from all users by using aria-hidden.

Related: Excluding Elements in the Accessibility Tree, hidden, aria-hidden.

Identifies

Used in an attribute description to denote that the value type is an ID reference (identifying a single element) or ID reference list (identifying one or more elements).

Related Terms: Defines, Indicates

Indicates

Used in an attribute description to denote that the value type is a named token or otherwise token-like, including the Boolean-like true/false, true/false/undefined, tristate (true/false/mixed), a single named token, or a token list.

Related Terms: Defines, Identifies

Keyboard Accessible

Accessible to the user using a keyboard or assistive technologies that mimic keyboard input, such as a sip and puff tube. References in this document relate to WCAG 2.1 Guideline 2.1: Make all functionality available from a keyboard [WCAG21].

Landmark

A type of region on a page to which the user might want quick access. Content in such a region is different from that of other regions on the page and relevant to a specific user purpose, such as navigating, searching, perusing the primary content, etc.

Live Region

Live regions are perceivable regions of a web page that are typically updated as a result of an external event. These regions are not always updated as a result of a user interaction and can receive these updates even when they do not have focus. Examples of live regions include a chat log, stock ticker, or a sport scoring section that updates periodically to reflect game statistics. Since these asynchronous areas are expected to update outside the user's area of focus, assistive technologies such as screen readers have either been unaware of their existence or unable to process them for the user. WAI-ARIA has provided a collection of properties that allow the author to identify these live regions and process them: aria-live, aria-relevant, aria-atomic, and aria-busy.

Managed State

Accessibility API state that is controlled by the user agent, such as focus and selection. These are contrasted with "unmanaged states" that are typically controlled by the author. Nevertheless, authors can override some managed states, such as aria-posinset and aria-setsize. Many managed states have corresponding CSS pseudo-classes, such as :focus, and pseudo-elements, such as ::selection, that are also updated by the user agent.

Nemeth Braille

The Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics is a braille code for encoding mathematical and scientific notation. See Nemeth Braille on Wikipedia.

Object

In the context of user interfaces, an item in the perceptual user experience, represented in markup languages by one or more elements, and rendered by user agents.

In the context of programming, the instantiation of one or more classes and interfaces which define the general characteristics of similar objects. An object in an accessibility API can represent one or more DOM objects. Accessibility APIs have defined interfaces that are distinct from DOM interfaces.
Ontology

A description of the characteristics of classes and how they relate to each other.

Operable

Usable by users in ways they can control. References in this document relate to WCAG 2.1 Principle 2: Content must be operable [WCAG21]. See Keyboard Accessible.

Perceivable

Presentable to users in ways they can sense. References in this document relate to WCAG 2.1 Principle 1: Content must be perceivable [WCAG21].

Property

attributes that are essential to the nature of a given object, or that represent a data value associated with the object. A change of a property can significantly impact the meaning or presentation of an object. Certain properties (for example, aria-multiline) are less likely to change than states, but note that the frequency of change difference is not a rule. A few properties, such as aria-activedescendant, aria-valuenow, and aria-valuetext are expected to change often. See clarification of states versus properties.

Relationship

A connection between two distinct things. Relationships can be of various types to indicate which object labels another, controls another, etc.

Role

Main indicator of type. This semantic association allows tools to present and support interaction with the object in a manner that is consistent with user expectations about other objects of that type.

Semantics

The meaning of something as understood by a human, defined in a way that computers can process a representation of an object, such as elements and attributes, and reliably represent the object in a way that various humans will achieve a mutually consistent understanding of the object.

State

A state is a dynamic property expressing characteristics of an object that can change in response to user action or automated processes. States do not affect the essential nature of the object, but represent data associated with the object or user interaction possibilities. See clarification of states versus properties.

Target Element

An element specified in a WAI-ARIA relation. For example, in <div aria-controls=”elem1”>, where “elem1” is the ID for the target element.

Unicode Braille Patterns

In Unicode, braille is represented in a block called Braille Patterns (U+2800..U+28FF). The block contains all 256 possible patterns of an 8-dot braille cell; this includes the complete 6-dot cell range which is represented by U+2800..U+283F. In all braille systems, the braille pattern dots-0 (U+2800) is used to represent a space or the lack of content; it is also called a blank Braille pattern. See Braille Patterns on Wikipedia.

Widget

Discrete user interface object with which the user can interact. Widgets range from simple objects that have one value or operation (e.g., check boxes and menu items), to complex objects that contain many managed sub-objects (e.g., trees and grids).

3. Conformance

The main content of Accessible Rich Internet Applications is normative and defines requirements that impact conformance claims. Introductory material, appendices, sections marked as "non-normative" and their subsections, diagrams, examples, and notes are informative (non-normative). Non-normative material provides advisory information to help interpret the guidelines but does not create requirements that impact a conformance claim.

Normative sections provide requirements that authors and user agents must follow for an implementation to conform to this specification. The keywords MUST, MUST NOT, REQUIRED, SHALL, SHALL NOT, SHOULD, RECOMMENDED, MAY, and OPTIONAL in this document are to be interpreted as described in Keywords for use in RFCs to indicate requirement levels [RFC2119]. RFC-2119 keywords are formatted in uppercase and contained in an element with class="rfc2119". When the keywords shown above are used, but do not share this format, they do not convey formal information in the RFC 2119 sense, and are merely explanatory, i.e., informative. As much as possible, such usages are avoided in this specification.

Non-normative (informative) sections provide information useful to understanding the specification. Such sections might contain examples of recommended practice, but it is not required to follow such recommendations in order to conform to this specification.

3.1 Non-interference with the Host Language

WAI-ARIA processing by the user agent MUST NOT interfere with the normal operation of the built-in features of the host language.

If a CSS selector includes a WAI-ARIA attribute (e.g., input[aria-invalid="true"]), user agents MUST update the visual display of any elements matching (or no longer matching) the selector any time the attribute is added/changed/removed in the DOM. The user agent MAY alter the mapping of the host language features into an accessibility API, but the user agent MUST NOT alter the DOM in order to remap WAI-ARIA markup into host language features.

3.2 All WAI-ARIA in DOM

A conforming user agent which implements a document object model that does not conform to the W3C DOM specification MUST include the content attribute for role and its WAI-ARIA role values, as well as the WAI-ARIA States and Properties in the DOM as specified by the author, even though processing might affect how the elements are exposed to accessibility APIs. Doing so ensures that each role attribute and all WAI-ARIA states and properties, including their values, are in the document in an unmodified form so other tools, such as assistive technologies, can access them. A conforming W3C DOM meets this criterion.

3.3 Assistive Technology Notifications Communicated to Web Applications

Assistive technologies, such as speech recognition systems and alternate input devices for users with mobility impairments, require the ability to control a web application in a device-independent way. WAI-ARIA states and properties reflect the current state of rich internet application components. The ability for assistive technologies to notify web applications of necessary changes is essential because it allows these alternative input solutions to control an application without being dependent on the standard input device which the user is unable to effectively control directly.

User agents MUST provide a method to notify the web application when a change occurs to states or properties in the system accessibility API. Likewise, authors SHOULD update the web application accordingly when notified of a change request from the user agent or assistive technology.

3.4 Conformance Checkers

Any application or script verifying document conformance or validity SHOULD include a test for all of the normative author requirements in this specification. If testing for a given requirement, conformance checkers MUST issue an error if an author "MUST" requirement isn't met, and MUST issue a warning if an author "SHOULD" requirement isn't met.

3.5 Deprecated Requirements

As the technology evolves, sometimes new ways to meet a use case become available, that work better than a feature that was previously defined. But because of existing implementation of the older feature, that feature cannot be removed from the conformance model without rendering formerly conforming content non-conforming. In this case, the older feature is marked as "deprecated". This indicates that the feature is allowed in the conformance model and expected to be supported by user agents, but it is recommended that authors do not use it for new content. In future versions of the specification, if the feature is no longer widely used, the feature could be removed and no longer expected to be supported by user agents.

4. Using WAI-ARIA

Complex web applications become inaccessible when assistive technologies cannot determine the semantics behind portions of a document or when the user is unable to effectively navigate to all parts of it in a usable way (see ARIA Authoring Practices Guide). WAI-ARIA divides the semantics into roles (the type defining a user interface element) and states and properties supported by the roles.

Authors need to associate elements in the document to a WAI-ARIA role and the appropriate states and properties (aria-* attributes) during its life-cycle, unless the elements already have the appropriate implicit WAI-ARIA semantics for states and properties. In these instances the equivalent host language states and properties take precedence to avoid a conflict while the role attribute will take precedence over the implicit role of the host language element.

4.1 WAI-ARIA Roles

A WAI-ARIA role is set on an element using a role attribute, similar to the role attribute defined in Role Attribute [ROLE-ATTRIBUTE].

<li role="menuitem">Open file…</li>

The definition of each role in the model provides the following information :

Attaching a role gives assistive technologies information about how to handle each element. When WAI-ARIA roles override host language semantics, there are no changes in the DOM, only in the accessibility tree.

User agents MUST use the first token in the sequence of tokens in the role attribute value that matches the name of any non-abstract WAI-ARIA role. Refer to the section on role attribute implementation in Host Languages for further details.

4.2 WAI-ARIA States and Properties

WAI-ARIA provides a collection of accessibility states and properties which are used to support platform accessibility APIs on various operating system platforms. Assistive technologies can access this information through an exposed user agent DOM or through a mapping to the platform accessibility API. When combined with roles, the user agent can supply the assistive technologies with user interface information to convey to the user at any time. Changes in states or properties will result in a notification to assistive technologies, which could alert the user that a change has occurred.

In the following example, a list item (html:li) has been used to create a checkable menu item, and JavaScript events will capture mouse and keyboard events to toggle the value of aria-checked. A role is used to make the behavior of this simple widget known to the user agent. Attributes that change with user actions (such as aria-checked) are defined in the states and properties section.

<li role="menuitemcheckbox" aria-checked="true">Sort by Last Modified</li>

Some accessibility states, called managed states, are controlled by the user agent. Examples of managed state include keyboard focus and selection. Managed states often have corresponding CSS pseudo-classes (such as :focus and ::selection) to define style changes. In contrast, the states in this specification are typically controlled by the author and are called unmanaged states. Some states are managed by the user agent, such as aria-posinset and aria-setsize, but the author can override them if the DOM is incomplete and would cause the user agent calculation to be incorrect. User agents map both managed and unmanaged states to the platform accessibility APIs.

Most modern user agents support CSS attribute selectors ([CSS3-SELECTORS]), and can allow the author to create UI changes based on WAI-ARIA attribute information, reducing the amount of scripts necessary to achieve equivalent functionality. In the following example, a CSS selector is used to determine whether or not the text is bold and an image of a check mark is shown, based on the value of the aria-checked attribute.

[aria-checked="true"] { font-weight: bold; }
[aria-checked="true"]::before { background-image: url(checked.gif); }

If CSS is not used to toggle the visual representation of the check mark, the author could include additional markup and scripts to manage an image that represents whether or not the menuitemcheckbox is checked.

<li role="menuitemcheckbox" aria-checked="true">
  <img src="checked.gif" alt="">
  <!-- note: additional scripts required to toggle image source -->
  Sort by Last Modified
</li>

4.3 Managing Focus and Supporting Keyboard Navigation

When using standard HTML interactive elements and simple WAI-ARIA widgets, application developers can manipulate the tab order or associate keyboard shortcuts with elements in the document.

WAI-ARIA includes a number of "managing container" widgets, also known as "composite" widgets. When appropriate, the container is responsible for tracking the last descendant that was active (the default is usually the first item in the container). It is essential that a container maintain a usable and consistent strategy when focus leaves a container and is then later refocused. While there can be exceptions, it is recommended that when a previously focused container is refocused, the active descendant be the same element as the active descendant when the container was last focused. Exceptions include cases where the contents of a container widget have changed, and widgets like a menubar where the user expects to always return to the first item when focus leaves the menu bar. For example, if the second item of a tree group was the active descendant when the user tabbed out of the tree group, then the second item of the tree group remains the active descendant when the tree group gets focus again. The user can also activate the container by clicking on one of the descendants within it. When the container or its active descendant has focus, the user can navigate through the container by pressing additional keys, such as the arrow keys, to change the currently active descendant. Any additional press of the main navigation key (generally the TAB key) will move out of the container to the next widget.

Usable keyboard navigation in a rich internet application is different from the tabbing paradigm among interactive elements, such as links and form controls, in a static document. In rich internet applications, the user tabs to significantly complex widgets, such as a menu or spreadsheet, and uses the arrow keys to navigate within the widget. The changes that WAI-ARIA introduces to keyboard navigation make this enhanced accessibility possible. In WAI-ARIA, any element can be keyboard focusable. In addition to host language mechanisms such as tabindex, aria-activedescendant provides another mechanism for keyboard operation. Most other aspects of WAI-ARIA widget development depend on keyboard navigation functioning properly.

When implementing aria-activedescendant as described below, the user agent keeps the DOM focus on the container element or on an input element that controls the container element. However, the user agent communicates desktop focus events and states to the assistive technology as if the element referenced by aria-activedescendant has focus. User agents are not expected to validate that the active descendant is a descendant of the container element. It is the responsibility of the user agent to ensure that keyboard events are processed at the element that has DOM focus. Any keyboard events directed at the active descendant bubble up to the DOM element with focus for processing.

4.3.1 Information for Authors

If the author removes the element with focus, the author SHOULD move focus to a logical element. Similarly, authors SHOULD not scroll the element with focus off screen unless the user performed a scrolling action.

Authors SHOULD ensure that all interactive elements are focusable and that all parts of composite widgets are either focusable or have a documented alternative method to achieve their function.

Authors MUST manage focus on the following container roles:

User agents that support WAI-ARIA expand the usage of host language mechanisms such as tabindex, focus, and blur to allow them on all elements. Where the host language supports it, authors MAY add any element such as a div, span, or img to the default tab order by setting tabindex="0". In addition, any item with tabindex equal to a negative integer is focusable via script or a mouse click, but is not part of the default tab order. This is supported in both [HTML] and [SVG2].

Authors MAY use aria-activedescendant to inform assistive technologies which descendant of a widget element is treated as having keyboard focus in the user interface if the role of the widget element supports aria-activedescendant. This is often a more convenient way of providing keyboard navigation within widgets, such as a listbox, where the widget occupies only one stop in the page Tab sequence and other keys, typically arrow keys, are used to focus elements inside the widget.

Typically, the author will use host language semantics to put the widget in the Tab sequence (e.g., tabindex="0" in HTML) and aria-activedescendant to point to the ID of the currently active descendant. The author, not the user agent, is responsible for styling the currently active descendant to show it has keyboard focus. The author cannot use :focus to style the currently active descendant since the actual focus is on the container.

More information on managing focus can be found in the Developing a Keyboard Interface section of the WAI-ARIA Authoring Practices.

4.3.2 Information for User Agents

The user agent MUST do the following to implement aria-activedescendant:

  1. Implement the host language method for keyboard navigation so that widgets that support aria-activedescendant can be included in the tab order.
  2. For platforms that expose desktop focus or accessibility API focus separately from DOM focus, do not expose the focused state in the accessibility API for any element when it has DOM focus and also has aria-activedescendant which points to a valid ID reference.
  3. When the aria-activedescendant attribute changes on an element that currently has DOM focus, remove the focused state from the previously focused object and fire an accessibility API desktop focus event on the new element referenced by aria-activedescendant. If aria-activedescendant is cleared or does not point to an element in the current document, fire a desktop focus event for the object that had the attribute change.
  4. Apply the following accessibility API states to any element with an ID attribute that can be referenced by an element with both an aria-activedescendant attribute and has DOM focus. There are two ways an element can be referenced by aria-activedescendant. One way is when it is an accessibility descendant of the element with aria-activedescendant and the other is when it is an accessibility descendant of an element that is controlled by an element with role of combobox, textbox or searchbox with an aria-activedescendant attribute:
    1. Focusable, if the element also has a WAI-ARIA role. The element needs to be focusable because it could be referenced by the aria-activedescendant attribute. Native elements that have no role attribute do not need to be checked; their native semantics determine the focusable state.
    2. Focused, whenever the element is the target of the aria-activedescendant attribute and the element with the aria-activedescendant attribute has DOM focus.

When an assistive technology uses its platform's accessibility API to request a change of focus, user agents MUST do the following:

  1. Remove the platform's focused state from the previously focused object.
  2. Set the DOM focus:
    1. If the element can take DOM focus, the user agent MUST set the DOM focus to it.
    2. Otherwise, if the element being focused has an ID and the ID is referenced by the aria-activedescendant attribute of an element that is focusable, the user agent MUST set DOM focus to the element that has the aria-activedescendant attribute.
      Note

      An element with an ID can be referenced when it is an accessibility descendant of a container element that has the aria-activedescendant attribute or by a container element that is controlled by an element that has the aria-activedescendant attribute (e.g. see combobox). Otherwise the aria-activedescendant attribute reference indicates an author error.

      Note

      The inability to set DOM focus to the containing element indicates an author error.

    3. Otherwise, the user agent MAY attempt to set DOM focus to the child element itself.
  3. If the element being focused has an ID and is an accessibility descendant of either a container element with both an aria-activedescendant attribute and has DOM focus, or by a container element that is controlled by an element with both an aria-activedescendant attribute and has DOM focus, the user agent MUST set the accessibility API focused state and fire an accessibility API focus event on the element identified by the value of aria-activedescendant.

5. The Roles Model

This section defines WAI-ARIA roles and describes their characteristics and properties.

The roles, their characteristics, the states and properties they support, and specification of how they can be used in markup, shall be considered normative.

In order to reflect the content in the DOM, user agents SHOULD map the role attribute to the appropriate value in the implemented accessibility API, and user agents SHOULD update the mapping when the role attribute changes.

5.1 Relationships Between Concepts

The Roles Model uses the following relationships to relate WAI-ARIA roles to each other and to concepts from other specifications, such as HTML.

5.1.1 Superclass Role

The role that the current subclassed role extends in the Roles Model. This extension causes all the states and properties of the superclass role to propagate to the subclass role. Other than well known stable specifications, inheritance can be restricted to items defined inside this specification, so that external items cannot be changed and affect inherited classes.

5.1.2 Subclass Roles

Informative list of roles for which this role is the superclass. This is provided to facilitate reading of the specification but adds no new information.

Informative data about a similar or related idea from other specifications. Concepts that are related are not necessarily identical. Related concepts do not inherit properties from each other. Hence if the definition of one concept changes, the properties, behavior, and definition of its related concept is not affected.

For example, a progress bar is like a status indicator. Therefore, the progressbar widget has a related concept which includes status. However, if the definition of status is modified, the definition of a progressbar is not affected.

5.1.4 Base Concept

Informative data about objects that are considered prototypes for the role. Base concept is similar to type, but without inheritance of limitations and properties. Base concepts are designed as a substitute for inheritance for external concepts. A base concept is like a related concept except that the base concept is almost identical to the role definition.

For example, the checkbox defined in this document has similar functionality and anticipated behavior to a <input type="checkbox"> defined in HTML. Therefore, a checkbox has an [HTML] checkbox as a baseConcept. However, if the original [HTML] checkbox baseConcept definition is modified, the definition of a checkbox in this document will not be affected, because there is no actual inheritance of the respective type.

5.2 Characteristics of Roles

Roles are defined and described by their characteristics. Characteristics define the structural function of a role, such as what a role is, concepts behind it, and what instances the role can or must contain. In the case of widgets this also includes how it interacts with the user agent based on mapping to HTML forms. States and properties from WAI-ARIA that are supported by the role are also indicated.

Roles define the following characteristics.

5.2.1 Abstract Roles

Values
Boolean

Abstract roles are the foundation upon which all other WAI-ARIA roles are built. Authors MUST NOT use abstract roles because they are not implemented in the API binding. User agents MUST NOT map abstract roles to the standard role mechanism of the accessibility API. Abstract roles are provided to help with the following:

  1. Organize the Roles Model and provide roles with a meaning in the context of known concepts.
  2. Streamline the addition of roles that include necessary features.

5.2.2 Required States and Properties

States and properties specifically required for the role and subclass roles. Authors MUST provide a non-empty value for required states and properties. Authors MUST NOT use the value undefined for required states and properties, unless undefined is an explicitly-supported value of that state or property.

When an object inherits from multiple ancestors and one ancestor indicates that property is supported while another ancestor indicates that it is required, the property is required in the inheriting object.

Note

A host language attribute with the appropriate implicit WAI-ARIA semantic fulfills this requirement.

5.2.3 Supported States and Properties

States and properties specifically applicable to the role and child roles. Authors MAY provide values for supported states and properties, but need not in cases where default values are sufficient. user agents MUST map all supported states and properties for the role to an accessibility API. If the state or property is undefined and it has a default value for the role, user agents SHOULD expose the default value.

Note

A host language attribute with the appropriate implicit WAI-ARIA semantic fulfills this requirement.

5.2.4 Inherited States and Properties

Informative list of properties that are inherited by a role from superclass roles. States and properties are inherited from superclass roles in the Roles Model, not from ancestor elements in the DOM tree. These properties are not explicitly defined on the role, as the inheritance of properties is automatic. This information is provided to facilitate reading of the specification. The set of supported states and properties combined with inherited states and properties forms the full set of states and properties supported by the role.

5.2.5 Prohibited States and Properties

List of states and properties that are prohibited on a role. Authors MUST NOT specify a prohibited state or property.

Note

A host language attribute with the appropriate implicit WAI-ARIA semantic would also prohibit a state or property in this section.

5.2.6 Allowed Accessibility Child Roles

A list of roles which are allowed on an accessibility child (simplified as "child") of the element with this role. Authors MUST only add child element with allowed roles. For example, an element with the role list can own child elements with the role listitem, but cannot own elements with the role option.

To determine whether an element is the child of an element, user agents MUST ignore any intervening elements with the role generic or none.

Descendants which are not children of an element ancestor are not constrained by allowed accessibility child roles. For example, an image is not an allowed child of a list, but it is a valid descendant if it is also a descendant of the list's allowed child listitem.

Note

A role that has 'allowed accessibility child roles' does not imply the reverse relationship. Elements with roles in this list do not always have to be found within elements of the given role. See required accessibility parent roles for requirements about the context where elements of a given role will be contained.

Note

An element with a subclass role of the 'allowed accessibility child role' does not fulfill this requirement. For example, the listbox role allows a child element using the option or group role. Although the group role is the superclass of row, adding a child element with a role of row will not fulfill the requirement that listbox allows children with option or group roles.

Note

An element with the appropriate implicit WAI-ARIA semantic fulfills this requirement.

Note

Examples of valid ways to mark up allowed accessibility child roles include:

  1. Direct DOM child:
    <div role="listbox">
    	<div role="option">option text</div>
    </div>
  2. DOM child with generics intervening:
    <div role="listbox">
    	<div>
    		<div role="option">option text</div>
    	</div>
    </div>
  3. Direct aria-owns relationship:
    <div role="listbox" aria-owns="id1"></div>
    <div role="option" id="id1">option text</div>
  4. aria-owns relationship with generics intervening:
    <div role="listbox" aria-owns="id1"></div>
    <div id="id1">
    	<div>
    		<div role="option">option text</div>
    	</div>
    </div>

5.2.7 Required Accessibility Parent Role

The required accessibility parent (simplified as "parent") role defines the container where this role is allowed. If a role has a required accessibility parent, authors MUST ensure that an element with the role is an accessibility child of an element with the required accessibility parent role. For example, an element with role listitem is only meaningful when it is a child of an element with role list.

To determine whether an element has a parent with the required role, user agents MUST ignore any elements with the role generic or none.

Note

An element with the appropriate implicit WAI-ARIA semantic fulfills this requirement.

5.2.8 Accessible Name Calculation

Values
One of the following values:
  1. author: name comes from values provided by the author in explicit markup features such as the aria-label attribute, the aria-labelledby attribute, or the host language labeling mechanism, such as the alt or title attributes in HTML, with HTML title attribute having the lowest precedence for specifying a text alternative.
  2. contents: name comes from the text value of the element node. Although this might be allowed in addition to "author" in some roles, this is used in content only if higher priority "author" features are not provided. Priority is defined by the accessible name and description computation algorithm [ACCNAME-1.2].
  3. prohibited: the element does not support name from author. Authors MUST NOT use the aria-label or aria-labelledby attributes to name the element.
5.2.8.1 Name Computation

Name Computation is defined in the Accessible Name and Description specification.

5.2.8.2 Description Computation

Description Computation is defined in the Accessible Name and Description specification.

5.2.8.3 Accessible Name and Description Computation

Accessible Name and Description Computation is defined in the Accessible Name and Description specification.

5.2.8.4 Roles Supporting Name from Author
5.2.8.5 Roles Supporting Name from Content
5.2.8.6 Roles which cannot be named (Name prohibited)

5.2.9 Presentational Children

Values

Boolean (true | false)

The DOM descendants are presentational. user agents SHOULD NOT expose descendants of this element through the platform accessibility API. If user agents do not hide the descendant nodes, some information might be read twice.

Authors MUST NOT specify aria-owns on an element which has Presentational Children.

5.2.10 Implicit Value for Role

Many states and properties have default values. Occasionally, the default value when used on a given role should be different from the usual default. Roles that require a state or property to have a non-standard default value indicate this in the "Implicit Value for Role". This is expressed in the form "Default for state or property name is new default value". Roles that define this have the new default value for the state or property if the author does not provide an explicit value.

5.3 Categorization of Roles

To support the current user scenario, this specification categorizes roles that define user interface widgets (sliders, tree controls, etc.) and those that define page structure (sections, navigation, etc.). Note that some assistive technologies provide special modes of interaction for regions marked with role application or document.

A visual description of the relationships among roles is available in the ARIA 1.2 Class Diagram.

Roles are categorized as follows:

  1. Abstract Roles
  2. Widget Roles
  3. Document Structure Roles
  4. Landmark Roles
  5. Live Region Roles
  6. Window Roles

5.3.1 Abstract Roles

The following roles are used to support the WAI-ARIA Roles Model for the purpose of defining general role concepts.

Abstract roles are used for the ontology. Authors MUST NOT use abstract roles in content.

5.3.2 Widget Roles

The following roles act as standalone user interface widgets or as part of larger, composite widgets.

The following roles act as composite user interface widgets. These roles typically act as containers that manage other, contained widgets.

5.3.3 Document Structure Roles

The following roles describe structures that organize content in a page. Document structures are not usually interactive.

5.3.4 Landmark Roles

The following roles are regions of the page intended as navigational landmarks. All of these roles inherit from the landmark base type and all are imported from the Role Attribute [ROLE-ATTRIBUTE]. The roles are included here in order to make them clearly part of the WAI-ARIA Roles Model.

5.3.5 Live Region Roles

The following roles are live regions and can be modified by live region attributes.

5.3.6 Window Roles

The following roles act as windows within the browser or application.

5.4 Definition of Roles

Below is an alphabetical list of WAI-ARIA roles.

Abstract roles are used for the ontology. Authors MUST NOT use abstract roles in content.

alert
A type of live region with important, and usually time-sensitive, information. See related alertdialog and status.
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.
application
A structure containing one or more focusable elements requiring user input, such as keyboard or gesture events, that do not follow a standard interaction pattern supported by a widget role.
article
A section of a page that consists of a composition that forms an independent part of a document, page, or site.
banner
A landmark that contains mostly site-oriented content, rather than page-specific content.
blockquote
A section of content that is quoted from another source.
button
An input that allows for user-triggered actions when clicked or pressed. See related link.
caption
Visible content that names, or describes a figure, grid, group, radiogroup, table or treegrid.
cell
A cell in a tabular container. See related gridcell.
checkbox
A checkable input that has three possible values: true, false, or mixed.
code
A section whose content represents a fragment of computer code.
columnheader
A cell containing header information for a column.
combobox
An input that controls another element, such as a listbox or grid, that can dynamically pop up to help the user set the value of the input.
command
A form of widget that performs an action but does not receive input data.
comment
A comment contains content expressing reaction to other content.
complementary
A landmark that is designed to be complementary to the main content that it is a sibling to, or a direct descendant of. The contents of a complementary landmark would be expected to remain meaningful if it were to be separated from the main content it is relevant to.
composite
A widget that can contain navigable accessibility descendants.
contentinfo
A landmark that contains information about the parent document.
definition
A definition of a term or concept. See related term.
deletion
A deletion represents content that is marked as removed, content that is being suggested for removal, or content that is no longer relevant in the context of its accompanying content. See related insertion.
dialog
A dialog is a descendant window of the primary window of a web application. For HTML pages, the primary application window is the entire web document, i.e., the body element.
directory
[Deprecated in ARIA 1.2] A list of references to members of a group, such as a static table of contents.
document
An element containing content that assistive technology users might want to browse in a reading mode.
emphasis
One or more emphasized characters. See related strong.
feed
A scrollable list of articles where scrolling might cause articles to be added to or removed from either end of the list.
figure
A perceivable section of content that typically contains a graphical document, images, media player, code snippets, or example text. The parts of a figure MAY be user-navigable.
form
A landmark region that contains a collection of items and objects that, as a whole, combine to create a form. See related search.
generic
A nameless container element that has no semantic meaning on its own.
grid
A composite widget containing a collection of one or more rows with one or more cells where some or all cells in the grid are focusable by using methods of two-dimensional navigation, such as directional arrow keys.
gridcell
A cell in a grid or treegrid.
group
A set of user interface objects that is not intended to be included in a page summary or table of contents by assistive technologies.
heading
A heading for a section of the page.
image
A container for a collection of elements that form an image. See synonym img.
img
A container for a collection of elements that form an image. See synonym image.
input
A generic type of widget that allows user input.
insertion
An insertion contains content that is marked as added or content that is being suggested for addition. See related deletion.
landmark
A perceivable section containing content that is relevant to a specific, author-specified purpose and sufficiently important that users will likely want to be able to navigate to the section easily and to have it listed in a summary of the page. Such a page summary could be generated dynamically by a user agent or assistive technology.
link
An interactive reference to an internal or external resource that, when activated, causes the user agent to navigate to that resource. See related button.
list
A section containing listitem elements. See related listbox.
listbox
A widget that allows the user to select one or more items from a list of choices. See related combobox and list.
listitem
A single item in a list or directory.
log
A type of live region where new information is added in meaningful order and old information can disappear. See related marquee.
main
A landmark containing the main content of a document.
mark
Content which is marked or highlighted for reference or notation purposes, due to the content's relevance in the enclosing context.
marquee
A type of live region where non-essential information changes frequently. See related log.
math
Content that represents a mathematical expression.
menu
A type of widget that offers a list of choices to the user.
menubar
A presentation of menu that usually remains visible and is usually presented horizontally.
menuitem
An option in a set of choices contained by a menu or menubar.
menuitemcheckbox
A menuitem with a checkable state whose possible values are true, false, or mixed.
menuitemradio
A checkable menuitem in a set of elements with the same role, only one of which can be checked at a time.
meter
An element that represents a scalar measurement within a known range, or a fractional value. See related progressbar.
navigation
A landmark containing a collection of navigational elements (usually links) for navigating the document or related documents.
none
An element whose implicit native role semantics will not be mapped to the accessibility API. See synonym presentation.
note
A section whose content represents additional information or parenthetical context to the primary content it supplements.
option
An item in a listbox.
paragraph
A paragraph of content.
presentation
An element whose implicit native role semantics will not be mapped to the accessibility API. See synonym none.
progressbar
An element that displays the progress status for tasks that take a long time.
radio
A checkable input in a group of elements with the same role, only one of which can be checked at a time.
radiogroup
A group of radio buttons.
range
An element representing a range of values.
region
A landmark containing content that is relevant to a specific, author-specified purpose and sufficiently important that users will likely want to be able to navigate to the section easily and to have it listed in a summary of the page. Such a page summary could be generated dynamically by a user agent or assistive technology.
roletype
The base role from which all other roles inherit.
row
A row of cells in a tabular container.
rowgroup
A structure containing one or more row elements in a tabular container.
rowheader
A cell containing header information for a row.
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 and searchbox.
searchbox
A type of textbox intended for specifying search criteria. See related textbox and search.
section
A renderable structural containment unit on a page.
sectionhead
A structure that labels or summarizes the topic of its related section.
select
A form widget that allows the user to make selections from a set of choices.
separator
A divider that separates and distinguishes sections of content or groups of menuitems.
slider
An 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 type of live region 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.
strong
Content that is important, serious, or urgent. See related emphasis.
structure
A document structural element.
subscript
One or more subscripted characters. See related superscript.
suggestion
A single proposed change to content.
superscript
One or more superscripted characters. See related superscript.
switch
A type of checkbox that represents on/off values, as opposed to checked/unchecked values. See related checkbox.
tab
A grouping label providing a mechanism for selecting the tab content that is to be rendered to the user.
table
A section containing data arranged in rows and columns. See related grid.
tablist
A list of tab elements, which are references to tabpanel elements.
tabpanel
A container for the resources associated with a tab, where each tab is contained in a tablist.
term
A word or phrase with an optional corresponding definition. See related definition.
textbox
A type of input that allows free-form text as its value.
time
An element that represents a specific point in time.
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.
toolbar
A collection of commonly used function buttons or controls represented in compact visual form.
tooltip
A contextual popup that displays a description for an element.
tree
A widget that allows the user to select one or more items from a hierarchically organized collection.
treegrid
A grid whose rows can be expanded and collapsed in the same manner as for a tree.
treeitem
An item in a tree.
widget
An interactive component of a graphical user interface (GUI).
window
A browser or application window.

alert role

A type of live region with important, and usually time-sensitive, information. See related alertdialog and status.

Alerts are used to convey messages that might be immediately important to users. In the case of audio warnings, alerts provide an accessible alternative for hearing-impaired users. The alert role is applied to the element containing the alert message. An alert is a specialized form of the status role, which is processed as an atomic live region.

Alerts are assertive live regions, which means they cause immediate notification for assistive technology users. If the operating system allows, the user agent SHOULD fire a system alert event through the accessibility API when the WAI-ARIA alert is created.

Neither authors nor user agents are required to set or manage focus to an alert in order for it to be processed. Since alerts are not required to receive focus, authors SHOULD NOT require users to close an alert. If an author desires focus to move to a message when it is conveyed, the author SHOULD use alertdialog instead of alert.

Elements with the role alert have an implicit aria-live value of assertive, and an implicit aria-atomic value of true.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Subclass Roles:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-live is assertive.
Default for aria-atomic is true.

alertdialog role

A type of dialog that contains an alert message, where initial focus goes to an element within the dialog. See related alert and dialog.

Alert dialogs are used to convey messages to alert the user. The alertdialog role goes on the node containing both the alert message and the rest of the dialog. Authors SHOULD make alert dialogs modal by ensuring that, while the alertdialog is shown, keyboard and mouse interactions only operate within the dialog. See aria-modal.

Unlike alert, alertdialog can receive a response from the user. For example, to confirm that the user understands the alert being generated. When the alert dialog is displayed, authors SHOULD set focus to an active element within the alert dialog, such as a form control or confirmation button. The user agent SHOULD fire a system alert event through the accessibility API when the alert is created, provided one is specified by the intended accessibility API.

Authors SHOULD use aria-describedby on an alertdialog to reference the alert message element in the dialog. If they do not, an assistive technology can resort to its internal recovery mechanism to determine the contents of the alert message.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True

application role

A structure containing one or more focusable elements requiring user input, such as keyboard or gesture events, that do not follow a standard interaction pattern supported by a widget role.

Some user agents and assistive technologies have a browse mode where standard input events, such as up and down arrow key events, are intercepted and used to control a reading cursor. This browse mode behavior prevents elements that do not have a widget role from receiving and using such keyboard and gesture events to provide interactive functionality.

When there is a need to create an element with an interaction model that is not supported by any of the WAI-ARIA widget roles, authors MAY give that element role application. And, when a user navigates into an element with role application, assistive technologies that intercept standard input events SHOULD switch to a mode that passes most or all standard input events through to the web application.

For example, a presentation slide editor uses arrow keys to change the positions of textbox and image elements on the slide. There are not any WAI-ARIA widget roles that correspond to such an interaction model so an author could give the slide container role application, an aria-roledescription of "Slide Editor", and use aria-describedby to provide instructions.

Because only the focusable elements contained in an application element are accessible to users of some assistive technologies, authors MUST use one of the following techniques to ensure all non-decorative static text or image content inside an application is accessible:

  1. Associate the content with a focusable element using aria-labelledby or aria-describedby.
  2. Place the content in a focusable element that has role document or article.
  3. Manage focus of accessibility descendants as described in Managing Focus, updating the value of aria-activedescendant to reference the element containing the focused content.
Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: structure
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True

article role

A section of a page that consists of a composition that forms an independent part of a document, page, or site.

An article is not a navigational landmark, but can be nested to form a discussion where assistive technologies could pay attention to article nesting to assist the user in following the discussion. An article could be a forum post, a magazine or newspaper article, a web log entry, a user-submitted comment, or any other independent item of content. It is independent in that its contents could stand alone, for example in syndication. However, the element is still associated with its ancestors; for instance, contact information that applies to a parent body element still covers the article as well. When nesting articles, the child articles represent content that is related to the content of the parent article. For instance, a web log entry on a site that accepts user-submitted comments could represent the comments as articles nested within the article for the web log entry. Author, heading, date, or other information associated with an article does not apply to nested articles.

When the user navigates to an element assigned the role of article, assistive technologies that typically intercept standard keyboard events SHOULD switch to document browsing mode, as opposed to passing keyboard events through to the web application. Some assistive technologies provide a feature allowing the user to navigate the hierarchy of any nested article elements.

When an article is in the context of a feed, the author MAY specify values for aria-posinset and aria-setsize.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: document
Subclass Roles:
Related Concepts:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

blockquote role

A section of content that is quoted from another source.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

button role

An input that allows for user-triggered actions when clicked or pressed. See related link.

Buttons are mostly used for discrete actions. Standardizing the appearance of buttons enhances the user's recognition of the widgets as buttons and allows for a more compact display in toolbars.

Buttons support the optional attribute aria-pressed. Buttons with a non-empty aria-pressed attribute are toggle buttons. When aria-pressed is true the button is in a "pressed" state, when aria-pressed is false it is not pressed. If the attribute is not present, the button is a simple command button.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: command
Base Concept: <button> in HTML
Related Concepts:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From:
  • contents
  • author
Accessible Name Required: True
Children Presentational: True

caption role

Visible content that names, or describes a figure, grid, group, radiogroup, table or treegrid.

When using caption authors SHOULD ensure:

If the caption represents an accessible name for its containing element, authors SHOULD specify aria-labelledby on the containing element to reference the element with role caption.

<div role="radiogroup" aria-labelledby="cap">
   <div role="caption" id="cap">
     Choose your favorite fruit
   </div>
   <!-- ... -->

If a caption contains content that serves as both a name and description for its containing element, authors MAY instead specify aria-labelledby to reference an element within the caption that represents the "name" of the containing element, and specify aria-describedby to reference an element within the caption that represents the descriptive content.

<div role="table" aria-labelledby="name" aria-describedby="desc">
   <div role="caption">
     <div id="name">Contest Entrants</div>
     <div id="desc">
       This table shows the total number of entrants (500) the
       contest accepted over the past four weeks.
     </div>
   </div>
   <!-- ... -->

If the caption represents a long-form description, or if the description contains semantic elements which are important in understanding the description, authors MAY instead specify aria-labelledby to reference an element within the caption that represents the "name" of the containing element, and specify aria-details to reference an element within the caption that represents the descriptive content.

<div role="figure" aria-labelledby="name" aria-details="details">
  <!-- figure content here, such as a complex data viz SVG -->
   <div role="caption">
     <div id="name">Sales information for 20XX</div>
     <div id="details">
       This barchart represents the total amount of sales over the course
       of five years. <a href="...">Sales information for last year</a> can
       be reviewed, or you can overlay <button aria-pressed="false">previous year</button>
       information in this graphic.
     </div>
   </div>
   <!-- ... -->

If a caption contains only a description, without a suitable text string to serve as the accessible name for its containing element, then aria-label or aria-labelledby MAY be used to provide an accessible name, and the caption MAY be treated solely as descriptive content, referenced via aria-details.

<div role="figure" aria-label="Sales information" aria-details="details">
  <!-- figure content here, such as a complex data viz SVG -->
   <div role="caption" id="details">
     This barchart represents the total amount of sales over the course
     of five years. <a href="...">Sales information for last year</a> can
     be reviewed, or you can overlay <button aria-pressed="false">previous year</button>
     information in this graphic.
   </div>
   <!-- ... -->
Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Related Concepts:
Required Accessibility Parent Roles:
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

cell role

A cell in a tabular container. See related gridcell.

Authors MUST ensure elements with role cell are the accessibility children of an element with the role row.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Subclass Roles:
Base Concept: <td> in HTML
Required Accessibility Parent Roles: row
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From:
  • contents
  • author

checkbox role

A checkable input that has three possible values: true, false, or mixed.

The aria-checked attribute of a checkbox indicates whether the input is checked (true), unchecked (false), or represents a group of elements that have a mixture of checked and unchecked values (mixed). Many checkboxes do not use the mixed value, and thus are effectively boolean checkboxes.

Note

Due to the strong native semantics of HTML's native checkbox, authors are advised against using aria-checked on an input type=checkbox. Rather, use the native checked attribute or the indeterminate IDL attribute to specify the checkbox's "checked" or "mixed" state, respectively.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: input
Subclass Roles:
Related Concepts:
Required States and Properties:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From:
  • contents
  • author
Accessible Name Required: True
Children Presentational: True

code role

A section whose content represents a fragment of computer code.

The primary purpose of the code role is to inform assistive technologies that the content is computer code and thus might require special presentation, in particular with respect to synthesized speech. More specifically, screen readers and other tools which provide text-to-speech presentation of content SHOULD prefer full punctuation verbosity to ensure common symbols (e.g. "-") are spoken.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

columnheader role

A cell containing header information for a column.

columnheader can be used as a column header in a table or grid. It could also be used in a pie chart to show a similar relationship in the data.

The columnheader establishes a relationship between it and all cells in the corresponding column. It is the structural equivalent to an HTML th element with a column scope.

Authors MUST ensure elements with role columnheader are the accessibility children of an element with the role row.

Applying the aria-selected state on a columnheader MUST not cause the user agent to automatically propagate the aria-selected state to all the cells in the corresponding column. An author MAY choose to propagate selection in this manner depending on the specific application.

While the columnheader role can be used in both interactive grids and non-interactive tables, the use of aria-readonly and aria-required is only applicable to interactive elements. Therefore, authors SHOULD NOT use aria-required or aria-readonly in a columnheader that descends from a table, and user agents SHOULD NOT expose either property to assistive technologies unless the columnheader descends from a grid.

Note

Because cells are organized into rows, there is not a single container element for the column. The column is the set of gridcell elements in a particular position within their respective row containers.

Note: Usage of aria-disabled

While aria-disabled is currently supported on columnheader, in a future version the working group plans to prohibit its use on elements with role columnheader except when the element is in the context of a grid or treegrid.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Base Concept: <th scope="col"> in HTML
Required Accessibility Parent Roles: row
Supported States and Properties: aria-sort
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From:
  • contents
  • author
Accessible Name Required: True

combobox role

An input that controls another element, such as a listbox or grid, that can dynamically pop up to help the user set the value of the input.

Editor's note: Major Changes to combobox role in ARIA 1.2

The Guidance for combobox has changed significantly in ARIA 1.2 due to problems with implementation of the previous patterns. Authors and developers of User Agents, Assistive Technologies, and Conformance Checkers are advised to review this section carefully to understand the changes. Explanation of the changes is available in the ARIA repository wiki.

A combobox functionally combines a named input field with the ability to assist value selection via a supplementary popup element. A combobox input MAY be either a single-line text field that supports editing and typing or an element that only displays the current value of the combobox. If the combobox supports text input and provides autocompletion behavior as described in aria-autocomplete, authors MUST set aria-autocomplete on the combobox element to the value that corresponds to the provided behavior.

Typically, the initial state of a combobox is collapsed. In the collapsed state, only the combobox element and a separate, optional popup control button are visible. A combobox is said to be expanded when both the combobox element showing its current value and its associated popup element are visible. Authors MUST set aria-expanded to true on an element with role combobox when it is expanded and false when it is collapsed.

Elements with the role combobox have an implicit aria-haspopup value of listbox. If the combobox popup element has a role other than listbox, authors MUST specify an aria-haspopup value of tree, grid, or dialog that corresponds to the role of its popup.

If the user interface includes an additional icon that allows the visibility of the popup to be controlled via pointer and touch events, authors SHOULD ensure that element has role button, that it is focusable but not included in the page Tab sequence, and that it is not a descendant of the element with role combobox. In addition, to be keyboard accessible, authors SHOULD provide keyboard mechanisms for moving focus between the combobox element and elements contained in the popup. For example, one common convention is that Down Arrow moves focus from the input to the first focusable descendant of the popup element. If the popup element supports aria-activedescendant, in lieu of moving focus, such keyboard mechanisms can control the value of aria-activedescendant on the combobox element. When a descendant of the popup element is active, authors MAY set aria-activedescendant on the combobox to a value that refers to the active element within the popup while focus remains on the combobox element.

User agents MUST expose the value of elements with role combobox to assistive technologies. The value of a combobox is represented by one of the following:

  • If the combobox element is a host language element that provides a value, such as an HTML input element, the value of the combobox is the value of that element.
  • Otherwise, the value of the combobox is represented by its descendant elements and can be determined using the same method used to compute the name of a button from its descendant content.
    <label id="tag_label" for="tag_combo">Tag</label>
  <input type="text" id="tag_combo"
      role="combobox" aria-autocomplete="list"
      aria-haspopup="listbox" aria-expanded="true"
      aria-controls="popup_listbox" aria-activedescendant="selected_option">
<ul role="listbox" id="popup_listbox" aria-labelledby="tag_label">
   <li role="option">Zebra</li>
   <li role="option" id="selected_option">Zoom</li>
</ul>
Editor's note: Validity changes combobox for ARIA 1.2

Please review the following carefully. As a result of these changes a combobox following the ARIA 1.1 combobox specification will no longer conform with the ARIA specification.

Note

The structural requirements for combobox defined by this version of the specification are different from the requirements defined by ARIA 1.0 and ARIA 1.1:

  • The ARIA 1.0 specification required the input element with the combobox role to be a single-line text field and reference the popup element with aria-owns instead of aria-controls.
  • The ARIA 1.1 specification, which was not broadly supported by assistive technologies, required the combobox to be a non-focusable element with two required accessibility children -- a focusable textbox and a popup element controlled by the textbox.
  • The changes introduced in ARIA 1.2 improve interoperability with assistive technologies and enable authors to create presentations of combobox that more closely imitate a native HTML select element.

The features and behaviors of combobox implementations vary widely. Consequently, there are many important authoring considerations. See the ARIA Authoring Practices Guide for additional details on implementing combobox design patterns.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: input
Related Concepts:
Required States and Properties: aria-expanded
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-haspopup is listbox.

command role

A form of widget that performs an action but does not receive input data.

command is an abstract role used for the ontology. Authors MUST NOT use commmand role in content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Is Abstract: True
Superclass Role: widget
Subclass Roles:
Inherited States and Properties:

comment role

A comment contains content expressing reaction to other content.

Comments can annotate any visible content, from small spans of text, to other comments, to entire articles. Authors SHOULD identify the relationships between comments and the commented content, as follows:

  1. If the comment is a reply to another comment:
    • If all ancestor comments are available in the DOM, make each reply comment a semantic descendant of the comment to which it is replying, either by making it a DOM descendant element or by using aria-owns.
    • Alternatively, if all ancestor comments are not in the DOM, such as when comments are paginated, the hierarchical level MAY be indicated via aria-level. Additional group positional information MAY be indicated via aria-posinset and aria-setsize.
  2. Otherwise, if the comment relates to other content in the page:
    • Provide aria-details on the element containing the commented content with a value refering to the element with role comment.
    • If there are multiple comments related to the same commented content, either provide a value for aria-details on the commented content that refers to each individual comment, or use aria-details to refer to a parent container of the comments. If aria-details refers to an element containing comments rather than comment elements, authors SHOULD assign a role of group or region to the referenced container.

If the author has not explicitly declared aria-level, aria-posinset, or aria-setsize for a comment element, user agents MUST automatically compute the missing values and expose them to assistive technologies.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: article
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From:
  • contents
  • author

complementary role

A landmark that is designed to be complementary to the main content that it is a sibling to, or a direct descendant of. The contents of a complementary landmark would be expected to remain meaningful if it were to be separated from the main content it is relevant to.

There are various types of content that would appropriately have this role. For example, in the case of a portal, this can include but not be limited to show times, current weather, related articles, or stocks to watch. If the complementary content is completely separable from the main content, it might be appropriate to use a more general role.

Assistive technologies SHOULD enable users to quickly navigate to elements with role complementary. user agents SHOULD treat elements with role complementary as navigational landmarks. user agents MAY enable users to quickly navigate to elements with role complementary.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: landmark
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

composite role

A widget that can contain navigable accessibility descendants.

Authors SHOULD ensure that a composite widget exists as a single navigation stop within the larger navigation system of the web page. Once the composite widget has focus, authors SHOULD provide a separate navigation mechanism for users to navigate to elements that are accessibility descendants of the composite element.

composite is an abstract role used for the ontology. Authors MUST NOT use composite role in content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Is Abstract: True
Superclass Role: widget
Subclass Roles:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:

contentinfo role

A landmark that contains information about the parent document.

Examples of information included in this region of the page are copyrights and links to privacy statements.

Assistive technologies SHOULD enable users to quickly navigate to elements with role contentinfo. user agents SHOULD treat elements with role contentinfo as navigational landmarks. user agents MAY enable users to quickly navigate to elements with role contentinfo.

The author SHOULD mark no more than one element on a page with the contentinfo role.

Note

Because document and application elements can be nested in the DOM, they can have multiple contentinfo elements as DOM descendants, assuming each of those is associated with different document nodes, either by a DOM nesting (e.g., document within document) or by use of the aria-owns attribute.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: landmark
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

definition role

A definition of a term or concept. See related term.

Authors MUST identify the element being defined and assign that element a role of term.

Authors SHOULD NOT use the definition role on interactive elements such as form controls because doing so could prevent users of assistive technologies from interacting with those elements.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

deletion role

A deletion represents content that is marked as removed, content that is being suggested for removal, or content that is no longer relevant in the context of its accompanying content. See related insertion.

Deletions are typically used to either mark differences between two versions of content or to designate content suggested for removal in scenarios where multiple people are revising content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

dialog role

A dialog is a descendant window of the primary window of a web application. For HTML pages, the primary application window is the entire web document, i.e., the body element.

Dialogs are most often used to prompt the user to enter or respond to information. A dialog that is designed to interrupt workflow is usually modal. See related alertdialog.

Authors MUST provide an accessible name for a dialog, which can be done with the aria-label or aria-labelledby attribute.

Authors SHOULD ensure that all dialogs (both modal and non-modal) have at least one focusable descendant element. Authors SHOULD focus an element in the modal dialog when it is displayed, and authors SHOULD manage focus of modal dialogs.

Note

In the description of this role, the term "web application" does not refer to the application role, which specifies specific assistive technology behaviors.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: window
Subclass Roles:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True

directory role

[Deprecated in ARIA 1.2] A list of references to members of a group, such as a static table of contents.

Note

As exposed by accessibility APIs, the directory role is essentially equivalent to the list role. So, using directory does not provide any additional benefits to assistive technology users. Authors are advised to treat directory as deprecated and to use list, or a host language's equivalent semantics instead.

A directory is a static table of contents, whether linked or unlinked. This includes tables of contents built with lists, including nested lists. Dynamic tables of contents, however, might use a tree role instead.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: list
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

document role

An element containing content that assistive technology users might want to browse in a reading mode.

When user agent focus moves to an element assigned the role of document, assistive technologies having a reading mode for browsing static content MAY switch to that reading mode and intercept standard input events, such as Up or Down arrow keyboard events, to control the reading cursor.

Because assistive technologies that have a reading mode default to that mode for all elements except for those with either a widget or application role, the only circumstance where the document role is useful for changing assistive technology behavior is when the element with role document is a focusable child element of a widget or application. For example, given an application element which contains some static rich text, the author can apply role document to the element containing the text and give it a tabindex of 0. When a screen reader user presses the Tab key and places focus on the document element, the user will be able to read the text with the screen reader's reading cursor.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: structure
Subclass Roles:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

emphasis role

One or more emphasized characters. See related strong.

The purpose of the emphasis role is to stress or emphasize content. It is not for communicating changes in typographical presentation that do not impact the meaning of the content. Authors SHOULD use the emphasis role only if its absence would change the meaning of the content.

The emphasis role is not intended to convey importance; for that purpose, the strong role is more appropriate.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

feed role

A scrollable list of articles where scrolling might cause articles to be added to or removed from either end of the list.

A feed enables users of assistive technologies that have a document browse mode, such as screen readers, to use the browse mode reading cursor to both read and scroll through a stream of rich content that might continue scrolling infinitely by loading more content as the user reads. In a feed, assistive technologies provide a web application with signals of the user's reading cursor movement by moving user agent focus, enabling the application to both add new content and visually position content as the user browses the page. The feed also lets authors inform assistive technologies when additions and removals are occurring so assistive technologies can more reliably update their reading view without disrupting reading or degrading performance.

For example, a feed could be used to present a stream of news stories where each article contains a story with text, links, images, and comments as well as widgets for sharing and commenting. As a screen reader user reads and interacts with each story and moves the screen reader reading cursor from story to story, each story scrolls into view and, as needed, new stories are loaded.

A feed is a container element whose children have role article. When articles are added or removed from either or both ends of a feed, authors SHOULD set aria-busy to true on the feed element before the changes are made and set it to false after the changes are complete. Authors SHOULD avoid inserting or removing articles in the middle of a feed. These requirements help assistive technologies gracefully respond to changes in the feed content that occur simultaneously with user commands to move the reading cursor within the feed.

Authors SHOULD make each article in a feed focusable and ensure that the application scrolls an article into view when user agent focus is set on the article or one of its descendant elements. For example, in HTML, each article element should have a tabindex value of either -1 or 0.

When an assistive technology reading cursor moves from one article to another, assistive technologies SHOULD set user agent focus on the article that contains the reading cursor. If the reading cursor lands on a focusable element inside the article, the assistive technology MAY set focus on that element in lieu of setting focus on the containing article.

Because the ability to scroll to another article with an assistive technology reading cursor depends on the presence of another article in the page, authors SHOULD attempt to load additional articles before user agent focus reaches an article at either end of the set of articles that has been loaded. Alternatively, authors MAY include an article at either or both ends of the loaded set of articles that includes an element, such as a button, that lets the user request more articles to be loaded.

In addition to providing a brief label, authors MAY apply aria-describedby to article elements in a feed to suggest to screen readers which elements to speak after the label when users navigate by article. Screen readers MAY provide users with a way to quickly scan feed content by speaking both the label and accessible description when navigating by article, enabling the user to ignore repetitive or less important elements, such as embedded interaction widgets, that the author has left out of the description.

Authors SHOULD provide keyboard commands for moving focus among articles in a feed so users who do not utilize an assistive technology that provides article navigation features can use the keyboard to navigate the feed.

If the number of articles available in a feed supply is static, authors MAY specify aria-setsize on article elements in that feed. However, if the total number is extremely large, indefinite, or changes often, authors MAY set aria-setsize to -1 to communicate the unknown size of the set.

See the ARIA Authoring Practices Guide for additional details on implementing a feed design pattern.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: list
Allowed Accessibility Child Roles: article
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

figure role

A perceivable section of content that typically contains a graphical document, images, media player, code snippets, or example text. The parts of a figure MAY be user-navigable.

Authors SHOULD provide a reference to the figure from the main text, but the figure need not be displayed at the same location as the referencing element. Authors MAY provide a figure a caption which can include its name, descriptive text, or both. If a caption is provided, and it serves as a description to the contents of the figure, authors SHOULD associate it to the figure element using aria-details.

Authors MAY provide a figure an accessible name using aria-label or use aria-labelledby to reference other text in the page to serve as the element's label and accessible name.

Please refer to the caption role for more information on how to associate a figure with its caption.

Assistive technologies SHOULD enable users to quickly navigate to figures. User agents MAY enable users to quickly navigate to figures.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

form role

A landmark region that contains a collection of items and objects that, as a whole, combine to create a form. See related search.

A form can contain a mix of host language form controls, scripted controls, and hyperlinks. Authors are reminded to use native host language semantics to create form controls whenever possible. If the purpose of a form is to submit search criteria, authors SHOULD use the search role instead of the generic form role.

Authors MUST give each element with role form a brief label that describes the purpose of the form. Authors SHOULD reference a visible label with aria-labelledby if a visible label is present. Authors SHOULD include the label inside of a heading whenever possible. The heading MAY be an instance of the standard host language heading element or an instance of an element with role heading.

If an author uses a script to submit a form based on a user action that would otherwise not trigger an onsubmit event (for example, a form submission triggered by the user changing a form element's value), the author SHOULD provide the user with advance notification of the behavior.

Assistive technologies SHOULD enable users to quickly navigate to elements with role form. User agents SHOULD treat elements with role form and an accessible name as navigational landmarks. User agents MAY enable users to quickly navigate to elements with role form.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: landmark
Base Concept: <form> in HTML
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True

generic role

A nameless container element that has no semantic meaning on its own.

The generic role is intended for use as the implicit role of generic elements in host languages (such as HTML div or span), so is primarily for implementors of user agents. Authors SHOULD NOT use this role in content. Authors MAY use presentation or none to remove implicit accessibility semantics, or a semantic container role such as group to semantically group descendants in a named container.

Like an element with role presentation, an element with role generic can provide a limited number of accessible states and properties for its descendants, such as aria-live attributes.

However, unlike elements with role presentation, user agents expose generic elements in accessibility APIs when permitted accessibility attributes have been specified. User agents MAY otherwise ignore generic elements if such permitted attributes have not been specified.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: structure
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

grid role

A composite widget containing a collection of one or more rows with one or more cells where some or all cells in the grid are focusable by using methods of two-dimensional navigation, such as directional arrow keys.

The grid role does not imply a specific visual, e.g., tabular, presentation. It describes relationships among elements. It can be used for purposes as simple as grouping a collection of checkboxes or navigation links or as complex as creating a full-featured spreadsheet application.

The cell elements of a grid have role gridcell. Authors MAY designate a cell as a row or column header by using either the rowheader or columnheader role in lieu of the gridcell role. Authors MUST ensure elements with role gridcell, columnheader, or rowheader are accessibility children of elements with role row, which are in turn are accessibility children of an element with role rowgroup, or grid.

To be keyboard accessible, authors SHOULD manage focus of descendants of a grid as described in Managing Focus. When a user is navigating the grid content with a keyboard, authors SHOULD set focus as follows:

  • If a gridcell contains a single interactive widget that will not consume arrow key presses when it receives focus, such as a checkbox, button, or link, authors MAY set focus on the interactive element contained in that cell. This allows the contained widget to be directly operable.
  • Otherwise, authors SHOULD ensure the element that receives focus is a gridcell, rowheader, or columnheader element.

Authors SHOULD provide a mechanism for changing to an interaction or edit mode that allows users to navigate and interact with content contained inside a focusable cell if that focusable cell contains any of the following:

  • a widget that requires arrow keys to operate, e.g., a combobox or radiogroup
  • multiple interactive elements
  • editable content

For example, if a cell in a spreadsheet contains a combobox or editable text, the Enter key might be used to activate a cell interaction or editing mode when that cell has focus so the directional arrow keys can be used to operate the contained combobox or textbox. Depending on the implementation, pressing Enter again, Tab, Escape, or another key might switch the application back to the grid navigation mode.

Authors MAY use a gridcell to display the result of a formula, which could be editable by the user. In a spreadsheet application, for example, a gridcell might show a value calculated from a formula until the user activates the gridcell for editing when a textbox appears in the gridcell containing the formula in an editable state.

If aria-readonly is set on an element with role grid, user agents MUST propagate the value to all gridcell elements that are accessibility descendants of that grid and expose the value in the accessibility API. An author MAY override the propagated value of aria-readonly for an individual gridcell element.

In a grid that provides cell content editing functions, if the content of a focusable gridcell element is not editable, authors MAY set aria-readonly to true on the gridcell element. However, the value of aria-readonly, whether specified for a grid or individual cells, only indicates whether the content contained in cells is editable. It does not represent availability of functions for navigating or manipulating the grid itself.

An unspecified value for aria-readonly does not imply that a grid or a gridcell contains editable content. For example, if a grid presents a collection of elements that are not editable, such as a collection of link elements representing dates in a datepicker, it is not necessary for the author to specify a value for aria-readonly.

Authors MAY indicate that a focusable gridcell is selectable as the object of an action with the aria-selected attribute. If the grid allows multiple gridcells to be selected, the author SHOULD set aria-multiselectable to true on the element with role grid.

Since WAI-ARIA can augment an element of the host language, a grid can reuse the elements and attributes of a native table, such as an HTML table element. For example, if an author applies the grid role to an HTML table element, the author does not need to apply the row and gridcell roles to the descendant HTML tr and td elements because the user agent will automatically make the appropriate translations. When the author is reusing a native host language table element and needs a gridcell element to span multiple rows or columns, the author SHOULD apply the appropriate host language attributes instead of WAI-ARIA aria-rowspan or aria-colspan properties.

See the ARIA Authoring Practices Guide for additional details on implementing grid design patterns.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Subclass Roles:
Base Concept: <table> in HTML
Allowed Accessibility Child Roles:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True

gridcell role

A cell in a grid or treegrid.

A gridcell can be focusable, editable, and selectable. A gridcell can have relationships such as aria-controls to address the application of functional relationships.

If an author intends a gridcell to have a row header, column header, or both, and if the relevant headers cannot be determined from the DOM structure, authors SHOULD explicitly indicate which header cells are relevant to the gridcell by applying aria-describedby on the gridcell and referencing elements with role rowheader or columnheader.

In a treegrid, authors MAY define a gridcell as expandable by using the aria-expanded attribute. If the aria-expanded attribute is provided, it applies only to the individual cell. It is not a proxy for the container row, which also can be expanded. The main use case for providing this attribute on a gridcell is pivot table behavior.

Authors MUST ensure elements with role gridcell are accessibility children of an element with the role row.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Subclass Roles:
Base Concept: <td> in HTML
Required Accessibility Parent Roles: row
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From:
  • contents
  • author

group role

A set of user interface objects that is not intended to be included in a page summary or table of contents by assistive technologies.

Contrast with region, which is a grouping of user interface objects that will be included in a page summary or table of contents.

Authors SHOULD use a group to form a logical collection of items in a widget, such as children in a tree widget forming a collection of siblings in a hierarchy. However, when a group is used in the context of a listbox, for example, authors MUST limit its children to option elements. Therefore, proper handling of group by authors and assistive technologies is determined by the context in which it is provided.

Authors MAY nest group elements. If a section is significant enough to warrant inclusion in the web page's table of contents, the author SHOULD assign it a role of region or a standard landmark role.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Subclass Roles:
Related Concepts:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

heading role

A heading for a section of the page.

To ensure elements with a role of heading are organized into a logical outline, authors MUST use the aria-level attribute to indicate the proper nesting level.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: sectionhead
Related Concepts:
Required States and Properties: aria-level
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From:
  • contents
  • author
Accessible Name Required: True

image role

A container for a collection of elements that form an image. See synonym img.

An img can contain captions and descriptive text, as well as multiple image files that when viewed together give the impression of a single image. An img represents a single graphic within a document, whether or not it is formed by a collection of drawing objects. In order for an element with a role of img to be perceivable, authors MUST provide the element with an accessible name. This can be done using the aria-label or aria-labelledby attribute.

Note
Note regarding the ARIA 1.3 image role.

The image role was added to ARIA in version 1.3 as a synonym of the ARIA 1.0 img role. The image role improves syntactic consistency with the names of other roles, which are complete words or concatenations of complete words.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True
Children Presentational: True

img role

A container for a collection of elements that form an image. See synonym image.

input role

A generic type of widget that allows user input.

input is an abstract role used for the ontology. Authors MUST NOT use input role in content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Is Abstract: True
Superclass Role: widget
Subclass Roles:
Supported States and Properties: aria-disabled
Inherited States and Properties:

insertion role

An insertion contains content that is marked as added or content that is being suggested for addition. See related deletion.

Insertions are typically used to either mark differences between two versions of content or to designate content suggested for addition in scenarios where multiple people are revising content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

landmark role

A perceivable section containing content that is relevant to a specific, author-specified purpose and sufficiently important that users will likely want to be able to navigate to the section easily and to have it listed in a summary of the page. Such a page summary could be generated dynamically by a user agent or assistive technology.

landmark is an abstract role used for the ontology. Authors MUST NOT use landmark role in content.

Authors designate the purpose of the content by assigning a role that is a subclass of the landmark role and, when needed, by providing a brief, descriptive label.

Elements with a role that is a subclass of the landmark role are known as landmark regions or navigational landmark regions.

Assistive technologies SHOULD enable users to quickly navigate to landmark regions. user agents MAY enable users to quickly navigate to landmark regions.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Is Abstract: True
Superclass Role: section
Subclass Roles:
Inherited States and Properties:

list role

A section containing listitem elements. See related listbox.

Lists contain children whose role is listitem.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Subclass Roles:
Base Concept:
  • <ol> in HTML
  • <ul> in HTML
Allowed Accessibility Child Roles: listitem
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

listbox role

A widget that allows the user to select one or more items from a list of choices. See related combobox and list.

Items within the list are static and, unlike standard HTML select elements, can contain images. List boxes contain children whose role is option or elements whose role is group which in turn contain children whose role is option.

To be keyboard accessible, authors SHOULD manage focus of option descendants for all instances of this role, as described in Managing Focus.

Elements with the role listbox have an implicit aria-orientation value of vertical.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Related Concepts:
Allowed Accessibility Child Roles:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-orientation is vertical.

listitem role

A single item in a list or directory.

Authors MUST ensure elements whose role is listitem are accessibility children of an element whose role is list.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Subclass Roles:
Base Concept: <li> in HTML
Required Accessibility Parent Roles:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

log role

A type of live region where new information is added in meaningful order and old information can disappear. See related marquee.

Examples include chat logs, messaging history, game log, or an error log. In contrast to other live regions, in this role there is a relationship between the arrival of new items in the log and the reading order. The log contains a meaningful sequence and new information is added only to the end of the log, not at arbitrary points.

Elements with the role log have an implicit aria-live value of polite.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-live is polite.

main role

A landmark containing the main content of a document.

This marks the content that is directly related to or expands upon the central topic of the document. The main role is a non-obtrusive alternative for "skip to main content" links, where the navigation option to go to the main content (or other landmarks) is provided by assistive technologies, or by a user agent or browser extension, through a keyboard shortcut or UI feature such as a side panel or dialog.

Assistive technologies SHOULD enable users to quickly navigate to elements with role main. user agents SHOULD treat elements with role main as navigational landmarks. user agents MAY enable users to quickly navigate to elements with role main.

The author SHOULD mark no more than one element on a page with the main role.

Note

Because document and application elements can be nested in the DOM, they can have multiple main elements as DOM descendants, assuming each of those is associated with different document nodes, either by a DOM nesting (e.g., document within document) or by use of the aria-owns attribute.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: landmark
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

mark role

Content which is marked or highlighted for reference or notation purposes, due to the content's relevance in the enclosing context.

Example uses for mark include:

  • Highlighting text in a quotation which is of special interest but is not marked in the original source material, comparable to using a highlighter pen to mark passages of a print article.
  • Indicating portions of the content that are relevant to the user's current activity, such as highlighting text matches found by a search feature.

Authors SHOULD NOT use mark for purely decorative styling such as syntax highlighting.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

marquee role

A type of live region where non-essential information changes frequently. See related log.

Common usages of marquee include stock tickers and ad banners. The primary difference between a marquee and a log is that logs usually have a meaningful order or sequence of important content changes.

Elements with the role marquee have an implicit aria-live value of off.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

math role

Content that represents a mathematical expression.

Content with the role math is intended to be marked up in an accessible format such as MathML [MathML3], or with another type of textual representation such as TeX or LaTeX, which can be converted to an accessible format by native browser implementations or a polyfill library.

While it is not ideal to use an image of a mathematical expression, there exists a significant amount of legacy content where images are used to represent mathematical expressions. Authors SHOULD ensure that images of math are labeled by text that describes the mathematical expression as it might be spoken.

Note

Browsers that support native implementations of MathML are able to provide a more robust, accessible math experience than can be accomplished with plain text approximations of math. Some rendering engines have close integration with screen readers that allow spacial touch exploration of the formula and refreshable braille display output in the Nemeth Braille format. This level of integration is not supported with images of mathematical formulas, even if the author provides a plain text approximation.

At the time of this writing, some mainstream browsers do not support MathML natively, and must be retrofit using a JavaScript polyfill library. When authoring math content, use native MathML wherever possible, and test thoroughly. Use a polyfill library or provide a fallback image with a text alternative approximation if necessary.

MathML Example with Embedded TeX Annotation

<!-- Note: Use a JavaScript polyfill library to ensure
     this renders in user agents that do not support MathML. -->
<!-- The math element has an implicit role="math". -->
<math xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML">
  <mrow>
    <mi>x</mi>
    <mo>=</mo>
    <mfrac>
      <mrow>
        <mo form="prefix"></mo>
        <mi>b</mi>
        <mo>±</mo>
        <msqrt>
          <msup>
            <mi>b</mi>
            <mn>2</mn>
          </msup>
          <mo></mo>
          <mn>4</mn>
          <mo>&#x2062;<!-- &InvisibleTimes; --></mo>
          <mi>a</mi>
          <mo>&#x2062;<!-- &InvisibleTimes; --></mo>
          <mi>c</mi>
        </msqrt>
      </mrow>
      <mrow>
        <mn>2</mn>
        <mo>&#x2062;<!-- &InvisibleTimes; --></mo>
        <mi>a</mi>
      </mrow>
    </mfrac>
  </mrow>
  <annotation encoding="TeX">
    x=\frac{-b\pm\sqrt{b^2-4ac}}{2a}
  </annotation>
</math>

Plain HTML or Polyfill DOM Result of the MathML Quadratic Formula

If a rendering engine does not support a native math format such as MathML, authors MAY use JavaScript to downgrade the content to a format the browser can display, such as this HTML image using a data URI and plain text alternative.

<img role="math" src="..." alt="x=⟮−b±√⟮b²−4ac⟯⟯÷2a">
Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

meter role

An element that represents a scalar measurement within a known range, or a fractional value. See related progressbar.

Authors MAY set aria-valuemin and aria-valuemax to indicate the minimum and maximum values for the meter. Otherwise, their implicit values follow the same rules as <input type="range"> in HTML:

  • If aria-valuemin is missing or not a number, it defaults to 0 (zero).
  • If aria-valuemax is missing or not a number, it defaults to 100.

The value of aria-valuenow MUST NOT fall below or exceed the computed values of aria-valuemin and aria-valuemax, respectively.

Authors SHOULD NOT use the meter role to indicate progress; the progressbar role exists to address that need.

Note

Presently, there are no WAI-ARIA properties corresponding to the low, optimum, and high attributes supported on the <meter> element in HTML. The addition of these properties will be considered for ARIA version 1.3.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: range
Related Concepts:
Required States and Properties: aria-valuenow
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True
Children Presentational: True
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-valuemin is 0.
Default for aria-valuemax is 100.

none role

An element whose implicit native role semantics will not be mapped to the accessibility API. See synonym presentation.

Note
Note regarding the ARIA 1.1 none role.

In ARIA 1.1, the working group introduced none as a synonym to the presentation role, due to author confusion surrounding the intended meaning of the word "presentation" or "presentational." Many individuals erroneously consider role="presentation" to be synonymous with aria-hidden="true", and we believe role="none" conveys the actual meaning more unambiguously.

The intended use is when an element is used to change the look of the page but does not have all the functional, interactive, or structural relevance implied by the element type, or can be used to provide for an accessible fallback in older browsers that do not support WAI-ARIA.

Example use cases:

  • An element whose content is completely presentational (like a spacer image, decorative graphic, or clearing element);
  • An image that is in a container with the img role and where the full text alternative is available and is marked up with aria-labelledby and (if needed) aria-describedby;
  • An element used as an additional markup "hook" for CSS; or
  • A layout table and/or any of its associated rows, cells, etc.

For any element with a role of none/presentation and which is not focusable, the user agent MUST NOT expose the implicit native semantics of the element (the role and its states and properties) to accessibility APIs. However, the user agent MUST expose content and descendant elements that do not have an explicit or inherited role of none/presentation. Thus, the none/presentation role causes a given element to be treated as having no role or to be removed from the accessibility tree, but does not cause the content contained within the element to be removed from the accessibility tree.

For example, the following two markup snippets will be exposed similarly to an accessibility API.

<!-- 1. role="none" negates the implicit 'heading' role semantics but does not affect the contents, including the nested hyperlink. -->
<h1 role="none"> Sample Content <a href="...">let's go!</a> </h1>

<!-- 2. A span has an implicit 'generic' role and no other attributes important to accessibility, so only its content is exposed, including the hyperlink. -->
<span> Sample Content <a href="...">let's go!</a> </span>

In HTML, the <img> element is treated as a single entity regardless of the type of image file. Consequently, using role="none" or role="presentation" on an HTML img is equivalent to using aria-hidden="true". In order to make the image contents accessible, authors can embed the object using an <object> or <iframe> element, or use inline SVG code, and follow the accessibility guidelines for the image content.

Authors SHOULD NOT provide a meaningful text alternative (for example, use alt="" in HTML) when the none/presentation role is applied to an image.

In the following code sample, the containing img and is appropriately labeled by the caption paragraph. In this example the img element can be marked as none/presentation because the role and the text alternatives are provided by the containing element.

<div role="img" aria-labelledby="caption">
  <img src="example.png" role="none" alt="">
  <p id="caption">A visible text caption labeling the image.</p>
</div>

In the following code sample, because the anchor (HTML a element) is acting as the treeitem, the list item (HTML li element) is assigned an explicit WAI-ARIA role of none/presentation to override the user agent's implicit native semantics for list items.

<ul role="tree">
  <li role="none">
	<a role="treeitem" aria-expanded="true">An expanded tree node</a>
  </li></ul>
Presentational Role Inheritance

The none/presentation role is used on an element that has implicit native semantics, meaning that there is a default accessibility API role for the element. Some elements are only complete when additional descendant elements are provided. For example, in HTML, table elements (matching the table role) require tr descendants (which have an implicit row role), which in turn require th or td children (the columnheader or rowheader and cell roles, respectively). Similarly, lists require list item children. The descendant elements that complete the semantics of an element are described in WAI-ARIA as Allowed Accessibility Child Roles.

When an explicit or inherited role of none/presentation is applied to an element with the implicit semantic of a WAI-ARIA role that has Allowed Accessibility Child Roles, in addition to the element with the explicit role of none/presentation, the user agent MUST apply an inherited role of none to any accessibility descendants that do not have an explicit role defined. Also, when an explicit or inherited role of none/presentation is applied to a host language element which has specifically allowed children as defined by the host language specification, in addition to the element with the explicit role of none/presentation, the user agent MUST apply an inherited role of none to any specifically allowed children that do not have an explicit role defined.

For any element with an explicit or inherited role of none/presentation and which is not focusable, user agents MUST ignore role-specific WAI-ARIA states and properties for that element. For example, in HTML, a ul or ol element with a role of none/presentation will have the implicit native semantics of its li elements removed because the list role to which the ul or ol corresponds has an Allowed Accessibility Child Role of listitem. Likewise, the implicit native semantics of an HTML table element's thead/tbody/tfoot/tr/th/td descendants will also be removed, because the HTML specification indicates that these are required structural descendants of the table element.

Note

Only the implicit native semantics of elements that correspond to WAI-ARIA Allowed Accessibility Child Roles are removed. All other content remains intact, including nested tables or lists, unless those elements also have an explicit role of none/presentation specified.

For example, according to an accessibility API, the following markup elements might have identical or very similar role semantics (generic or none role) and identical content.

<!-- 1. [role="none"] negates the implicit 'list' and 'listitem' role semantics but does not affect the contents. -->
<ul role="none">
  <li> Sample Content </li>
  <li> More Sample Content </li>
</ul>

<!-- 2. There is no implicit role for "foo", so only the contents are exposed. -->
<foo>
  <foo> Sample Content </foo>
  <foo> More Sample Content </foo>
</foo>
Note

There are other WAI-ARIA roles with specific allowed children for which this situation is applicable (e.g., feeds and listboxes), but tables and lists are the most common real-world cases in which the none/presentation inheritance is likely to apply.

For any element with an explicit or inherited role of none/presentation, user agents MUST apply an inherited role of none to all host-language-specific labeling elements for the presentational element. For example, a table element with a role of none/presentation will have the implicit native semantics of its caption element removed, because the caption is merely a label for the presentational table.

Editor's note

Information about resolving conflicts in the none/presentation role has been moved to Handling Author Errors

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: structure
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

note role

A section whose content represents additional information or parenthetical context to the primary content it supplements.

A note is content provided by the author of the page or document, it is not to be used for providing reactions or suggestions. For these purposes, please review comment and suggestion.

When used within the normal flow of a page's content, a note has an implicit association with the content that it supplements. The following example demonstrates using a note to call out additional information in the natural reading order of a page:

<p>... the following results outline support for the tested features.</p>
<div role="note">
  <p>Please keep in mind that at the time of publishing this page all results were accurate.</p>
  <p>If you find any variations in results, please let us know!</p>
</div>
<p>...</p>

In cases where an element with role note has been determined to need a programmatic association with the content it supplements, authors can use one of the following mechanisms to associate the elements:

  • If the note contains structured or interactive content (for example, a link, button, list, table, etc.) use aria-details.
  • If the note is brief and consists of static text, use aria-describedby.
 <!-- using aria-details to reference a note containing a link -->
 ...
<button aria-details="info-note">Get Started</button>
...
<div role="note" id="info-note">
  <p>Need more information before you get started?</p>
  <p>Visit our <a href="...">product description page</a> to get all the information you need.</p>
</div>
Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

option role

An item in a listbox.

Authors MUST ensure elements with role option are accessibility children of an element with role listbox or of an element with role group that is the accessibility child of an element with role listbox. Options not associated with a listbox might not be correctly mapped to an accessibility API.

In certain conditions, a user agent MAY provide an implicit value for aria-selected for each option in a listbox, and if it does, the user agent MUST ensure the following conditions are met before providing an implicit value:

If a user agent provides an implicit aria-selected value for an option, the value SHOULD be true if the option has DOM focus or the listbox has DOM focus and the option is referenced by aria-activedescendant. Otherwise, if a user agent provides an implicit aria-selected value for an option, the value SHOULD be false.

Authors SHOULD indicate selection for option elements using one of the following:

Authors SHOULD NOT specify both aria-selected and aria-checked on option elements contained by the same listbox except in the extremely rare circumstances where all the following conditions are met:

  • The meaning and purpose of aria-selected is different from the meaning and purpose of aria-checked in the user interface.
  • The user interface makes the meaning and purpose of each state apparent.
  • The user interface provides a separate method for controlling each state.
Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: input
Subclass Roles:
Base Concept: <option> in HTML
Related Concepts:
Required Accessibility Parent Roles:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From:
  • contents
  • author
Accessible Name Required: True
Children Presentational: True

paragraph role

A paragraph of content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

presentation role

An element whose implicit native role semantics will not be mapped to the accessibility API. See synonym none.

Note
Note regarding the ARIA 1.1 none role.

In ARIA 1.1, the working group introduced none as the preferred synonym to the presentation role, due to author confusion surrounding the intended meaning of the word "presentation" or "presentational." Many individuals erroneously consider role="presentation" to be synonymous with aria-hidden="true", and the ARIA Working Group believes role="none" conveys the actual meaning more unambiguously.

progressbar role

An element that displays the progress status for tasks that take a long time.

A progressbar indicates that the user's request has been received and the application is making progress toward completing the requested action.

Authors MAY set aria-valuemin and aria-valuemax to indicate the minimum and maximum progress indicator values. Otherwise, their implicit values follow the same rules as <input type="range"> in HTML:

  • If aria-valuemin is missing or not a number, it defaults to 0 (zero).
  • If aria-valuemax is missing or not a number, it defaults to 100.

The author SHOULD supply a value for aria-valuenow unless the value is indeterminate, in which case the author SHOULD omit the aria-valuenow attribute. Authors SHOULD update this value when the visual progress indicator is updated. If the progressbar is describing the loading progress of a particular region of a page, authors SHOULD both use aria-describedby to reference the progressbar status, and set the aria-busy attribute to true on the region until it is finished loading. It is not possible for the user to alter the value of a progressbar because it is always read-only.

Note

Assistive technologies generally will render the value of aria-valuenow as a percent of a range between the value of aria-valuemin and aria-valuemax, unless aria-valuetext is specified.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True
Children Presentational: True
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-valuemin is 0.
Default for aria-valuemax is 100.

radio role

A checkable input in a group of elements with the same role, only one of which can be checked at a time.

Authors SHOULD ensure that elements with role radio are explicitly grouped in order to indicate which ones affect the same value. This is achieved by enclosing the radio elements in an element with role radiogroup. If it is not possible to make the radio buttons DOM children of the radiogroup, authors SHOULD use the aria-owns attribute on the radiogroup element to indicate the relationship to its children.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Related Concepts:
Required States and Properties:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From:
  • contents
  • author
Accessible Name Required: True
Children Presentational: True

radiogroup role

A group of radio buttons.

A radiogroup is a type of select list that can only have a single entry checked at any one time. Authors SHOULD enforce that only one radio button in a group can be checked at the same time. When one item in the group is checked, the previously checked item becomes unchecked (its aria-checked attribute becomes false).

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: select
Related Concepts: list
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True

range role

An element representing a range of values.

range is an abstract role used for the ontology. Authors MUST NOT use range role in content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Is Abstract: True
Superclass Role: structure
Subclass Roles:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:

region role

A landmark containing content that is relevant to a specific, author-specified purpose and sufficiently important that users will likely want to be able to navigate to the section easily and to have it listed in a summary of the page. Such a page summary could be generated dynamically by a user agent or assistive technology.

Authors SHOULD limit use of the region role to sections containing content with a purpose that is not accurately described by one of the other landmark roles, such as main, complementary, or navigation.

Authors MUST give each element with role region a brief label that describes the purpose of the content in the region. Authors SHOULD reference a visible label with aria-labelledby if a visible label is present. Authors SHOULD include the label inside of a heading whenever possible. The heading MAY be an instance of the standard host language heading element or an instance of an element with role heading.

Assistive technologies SHOULD enable users to quickly navigate to elements with role region. User agents SHOULD treat elements with role region and an accessible name as navigational landmarks. User agents MAY enable users to quickly navigate to elements with role region.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: landmark
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True

roletype role

The base role from which all other roles inherit.

Properties of this role describe the structural and functional purpose of objects that are assigned this role. A role is a concept that can be used to understand and operate instances.

roletype is an abstract role used for the ontology. Authors MUST NOT use roletype role in content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Is Abstract: True
Subclass Roles:
Supported States and Properties:

row role

A row of cells in a tabular container.

Rows contain cell or gridcell elements, and thus serve to organize a table, grid, or treegrid.

While the row role can be used in a table, grid, or treegrid, the semantics of aria-expanded, aria-posinset, aria-setsize, and aria-level are only applicable to the hierarchical structure of an interactive tree grid. Therefore, authors MUST NOT apply aria-expanded, aria-posinset, aria-setsize, and aria-level to a row that descends from a table or grid, and user agents SHOULD NOT expose any of these four properties to assistive technologies unless the row descends from a treegrid.

Authors MUST ensure elements with role row are accessibility children of an element with the role table, grid, rowgroup, or treegrid.

Note: Usage of aria-disabled

While aria-disabled is currently supported on row, in a future version the working group plans to prohibit its on elements with role row except when the element is in the context of a grid or treegrid.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Base Concept: <tr> in HTML
Required Accessibility Parent Roles:
Allowed Accessibility Child Roles:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From:
  • contents
  • author

rowgroup role

A structure containing one or more row elements in a tabular container.

The rowgroup role establishes a relationship with its accessibility children of role row. It is a structural equivalent to the thead, tfoot, and tbody elements in an HTML table element.

Authors MUST ensure elements with role rowgroup are accessibility children of an element with the role grid, table, or treegrid.

Note

The rowgroup role exists, in part, to support role symmetry in HTML, and allows for the propagation of presentation inheritance on HTML table elements with an explicit presentation role applied.

Note

This role does not differentiate between types of row groups (e.g., thead vs. tbody), but an issue has been raised for WAI-ARIA 2.0.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: structure
Base Concept: <tbody>, <tfoot> and <thead>in HTML
Required Accessibility Parent Roles:
Allowed Accessibility Child Roles: row
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author

rowheader role

A cell containing header information for a row.

The rowheader role can be used to identify a cell as a header for a row in a table, grid, or treegrid. The rowheader establishes a relationship between it and all cells in the corresponding row. It is a structural equivalent to setting scope="row" on an HTML th element.

Authors MUST ensure elements with role rowheader are accessibility children of an element with the role row.

Applying the aria-selected state on a rowheader MUST NOT cause the user agent to automatically propagate the aria-selected state to all the cells in the corresponding row. An author MAY choose to propagate selection in this manner depending on the specific application.

While the rowheader role can be used in both interactive grids and non-interactive tables, the use of aria-expanded, aria-readonly, and aria-required is only applicable to interactive elements. Therefore, authors SHOULD NOT use aria-expanded, aria-readonly, or aria-required in a rowheader that descends from a table, and user agents SHOULD NOT expose these properties to assistive technologies unless the rowheader descends from a grid or treegrid.

Note: Usage of aria-disabled

While aria-disabled is currently supported on rowheader, in a future version the working group plans to prohibit its use on elements with role rowheader except when the element is in the context of a grid or treegrid.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Base Concept: <th scope="row"> in HTML
Required Accessibility Parent Roles: row
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From:
  • contents
  • author
Accessible Name Required: True

scrollbar role

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.

A scrollbar represents the current value and range of possible values via the size of the scrollbar and position of the thumb with respect to the visible range of the orientation (horizontal or vertical) it controls. Its orientation represents the orientation of the scrollbar and the scrolling effect on the viewing area controlled by the scrollbar. It is typically possible to add to or subtract from the current value by using directional keys such as arrow keys.

Authors MUST set the aria-controls attribute on the scrollbar element to reference the scrollable area it controls.

Authors MAY set aria-valuemin and aria-valuemax to indicate the minimum and maximum thumb position. Otherwise, their implicit values follow the same rules as <input type="range"> in HTML:

  • If aria-valuemin is missing or not a number, it defaults to 0 (zero).
  • If aria-valuemax is missing or not a number, it defaults to 100.

Authors MUST set the aria-valuenow attribute to indicate the current thumb position. If aria-valuenow is missing or has an unexpected value, browsers MAY implement the repair techniques specified in the section describing handling author errors in states and properties, which are equivalent to the repair techniques for <input type="range"> in HTML.

Elements with the role scrollbar have an implicit aria-orientation value of vertical.

Note

Assistive technologies generally will render the value of aria-valuenow as a percent of a range between the value of aria-valuemin and aria-valuemax, unless aria-valuetext is specified. It is best to set the values for aria-valuemin, aria-valuemax, and aria-valuenow in a manner that is appropriate for this calculation.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Required States and Properties:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Children Presentational: True
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-orientation is vertical.
Default for aria-valuemin is 0.
Default for aria-valuemax is 100.

section role

A renderable structural containment unit on a page.

section is an abstract role used for the ontology. Authors MUST NOT use section role in content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Is Abstract: True
Superclass Role: structure
Subclass Roles:
Inherited States and Properties:

sectionhead role

A structure that labels or summarizes the topic of its related section.

sectionhead is an abstract role used for the ontology. Authors MUST NOT use sectionhead role in content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Is Abstract: True
Superclass Role: structure
Subclass Roles:
Inherited States and Properties:

select role

A form widget that allows the user to make selections from a set of choices.

select is an abstract role used for the ontology. Authors MUST NOT use select role in content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Is Abstract: True
Superclass Role:
Subclass Roles:
Supported States and Properties: aria-orientation
Inherited States and Properties:

separator role

A divider that separates and distinguishes sections of content or groups of menuitems.

There are two types of separators: a static structure that provides only a visible boundary and a focusable, interactive widget that is also moveable. If a separator is not focusable, it is revealed to assistive technologies as a static structural element. For example, a static separator can be used to help visually divide two groups of menu items in a menu or to provide a horizontal rule between two sections of a page.

Authors MAY make a separator focusable to create a widget that both provides a visible boundary between two sections of content and enables the user to change the relative size of the sections by changing the position of the separator. A variable separator widget can be moved continuously within a range, whereas a fixed separator widget supports only two discrete positions. Typically, a fixed separator widget is used to toggle one of the sections between expanded and collapsed states.

If the separator is focusable, authors MUST set the value of aria-valuenow to a number reflecting the current position of the separator and update that value when it changes. Authors SHOULD also provide the value of aria-valuemin if it is not 0 and the value of aria-valuemax if it is not 100. If missing or not a number, the implicit values of these attributes are as follows:

  • The implicit value of aria-valuemin is 0.
  • The implicit value of aria-valuemax is 100.

In applications where there is more than one focusable separator, authors SHOULD provide an accessible name for each one.

Elements with the role separator have an implicit aria-orientation value of horizontal.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Related Concepts:
Required States and Properties: aria-valuenow (if focusable)
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Children Presentational: True
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-orientation is horizontal.
Default for aria-valuemin is 0.
Default for aria-valuemax is 100.

slider role

An input where the user selects a value from within a given range.

A slider represents the current value and range of possible values via the size of the slider and position of the thumb. It is typically possible to add to or subtract from the current value by using directional keys such as arrow keys.

Authors MAY set the aria-valuemin and aria-valuemax attributes. Otherwise, their implicit values follow the same rules as <input type="range"> in HTML:

  • If aria-valuemin is missing or not a number, it defaults to 0 (zero).
  • If aria-valuemax is missing or not a number, it defaults to 100.

Authors MUST set the aria-valuenow attribute. If aria-valuenow is missing or has an unexpected value, browsers MAY implement the repair techniques specified in the section describing handling author errors in states and properties, which are equivalent to the repair techniques for <input type="range"> in HTML.

Elements with the role slider have an implicit aria-orientation value of horizontal.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Required States and Properties:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True
Children Presentational: True
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-orientation is horizontal.
Default for aria-valuemin is 0.
Default for aria-valuemax is 100.

spinbutton role

A form of range that expects the user to select from among discrete choices.

A spinbutton typically allows users to change its displayed value by activating increment and decrement buttons that step through a set of allowed values. Some implementations display the value in an text field that allows editing and typing but typically limits input in ways that help prevent invalid values.

Although a spinbutton is similar in appearance to many presentations of select, it is advisable to use spinbutton when working with known ranges (especially in the case of large ranges) as opposed to distinct options. For example, a spinbutton representing a range from 1 to 1,000,000 would provide much better performance than a select widget representing the same values.

Authors MAY create a spinbutton with accessibility children, but MUST limit those elements to a textbox and/or two buttons. Alternatively, authors MAY apply the spinbutton role to a text input and create sibling buttons to support the increment and decrement functions.

To be keyboard accessible, authors SHOULD manage focus of descendants for all instances of this role, as described in Managing Focus. When a spinbutton receives focus, authors SHOULD ensure focus is placed on the textbox element if one is present, and on the spinbutton itself otherwise. Authors SHOULD also ensure the up and down arrows on a keyboard perform the increment and decrement functions and that the increment and decrement button elements are NOT included in the primary navigation ring, e.g., the Tab ring in HTML.

Authors SHOULD set the aria-valuenow attribute when the spinbutton has a value. Authors SHOULD set the aria-valuemin attribute when there is a minimum value, and the aria-valuemax attribute when there is a maximum value.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-valuemin is that there is no minimum value.
Default for aria-valuemax is that there is no maximum value.
Default for aria-valuenow is that there is no current value.

status role

A type of live region 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.

Authors SHOULD ensure an element with role status does not receive focus as a result of change in status.

Status is a form of live region. If another part of the page controls what appears in the status, authors SHOULD make the relationship explicit with the aria-controls attribute.

Assistive technologies MAY reserve some cells of a Braille display to render the status.

Elements with the role status have an implicit aria-live value of polite and an implicit aria-atomic value of true.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Subclass Roles:
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-live is polite.
Default for aria-atomic is true.

strong role

Content that is important, serious, or urgent. See related emphasis.

The purpose of the strong role is to communicate strong importance, seriousness, or urgency. It is not for communicating changes in typographical presentation that are not important to the meaning of the content. Authors SHOULD use the strong role only if its absence would change the meaning of the content.

The strong role is not intended to convey stress or emphasis; for that purpose, the emphasis role is more appropriate.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

structure role

A document structural element.

Roles for document structure support the accessibility of dynamic web content by helping assistive technologies determine active content versus static document content. Structural roles by themselves do not all map to accessibility APIs, but are used to create widget roles or assist content adaptation for assistive technologies.

structure is an abstract role used for the ontology. Authors MUST NOT use structure role in content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Is Abstract: True
Superclass Role: roletype
Subclass Roles:
Inherited States and Properties:

subscript role

One or more subscripted characters. See related superscript.

The subscript role is intended to be used only to mark up typographical conventions that have specific meanings; not for typographical presentation for presentation's sake. In general, authors SHOULD use this role only if the absence of the subscript would change the meaning of the content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

suggestion role

A single proposed change to content.

For example, in an editing system that supports multiple users, one user can suggest a change, and another user would be responsible for accepting or rejecting the suggestion.

Authors MUST ensure that a suggestion contains either one insertion child or one deletion child or ensure that it contains two children where one is an insertion and the other is a deletion. Authors MUST ensure a suggestion does not contain any other children.

Authors MAY use aria-details or aria-description to associate the suggestion with related information such as comments, authoring info, and time stamps.

<p>
  The best pet is a
  <span role="suggestion">
    <span role="deletion">cat</span>
    <span role="insertion">dog</span>
  </span>
</p>

When a suggestion is accepted, authors SHOULD remove the suggestion role, indicating that the proposed revision has been made. After the suggestion role is removed, child insertion and deletion elements can either be retained to document the revision or replaced with the revised content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Allowed Accessibility Child Roles:
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

superscript role

One or more superscripted characters. See related superscript.

The superscript role is intended to be used only to mark up typographical conventions that have specific meanings; not for typographical presentation for presentation's sake. In general, authors SHOULD use this role only if the absence of the superscript would change the meaning of the content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

switch role

A type of checkbox that represents on/off values, as opposed to checked/unchecked values. See related checkbox.

The aria-checked attribute of a switch indicates whether the input is on (true) or off (false). The mixed value is invalid, and user agents MUST treat a mixed value as equivalent to false for this role.

Note

A switch provides approximately the same functionality as a checkbox and toggle button, but makes it possible for assistive technologies to present the widget in a fashion consistent with its on-screen appearance.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: checkbox
Related Concepts:
Required States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From:
  • contents
  • author
Accessible Name Required: True
Children Presentational: True

tab role

A grouping label providing a mechanism for selecting the tab content that is to be rendered to the user.

If a tabpanel or item in a tabpanel has focus, the associated tab is the currently active tab in the tablist, as defined in Managing Focus. tablist elements, which contain a set of associated tab elements, are typically placed near a series of tabpanel elements, usually preceding it. See the ARIA Authoring Practices Guide for details on implementing a tab set design pattern.

Authors MUST ensure elements with role tab are accessibility children of an element with the role tablist.

Authors SHOULD ensure the tabpanel associated with the currently active tab is perceivable to the user.

For a single-selectable tablist, authors SHOULD hide from all users other tabpanel elements until the user selects the tab associated with that tabpanel. For a multi-selectable tablist, authors SHOULD ensure that the tab for each visible tabpanel has the aria-expanded attribute set to true, and that the tabs associated with the remaining hidden from all users tabpanel elements have their aria-expanded attributes set to false.

Authors SHOULD ensure that a selected tab has its aria-selected attribute set to true, that inactive tab elements have their aria-selected attribute set to false, and that the currently selected tab provides a visual indication that it is selected.

In certain conditions, a user agent MAY provide an implicit value for aria-selected for each tab in a tablist, and if it does, the user agent MUST ensure the following conditions are met before providing an implicit value:

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Required Accessibility Parent Roles: tablist
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From:
  • contents
  • author
Accessible Name Required: True
Children Presentational: True
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-selected is false.

table role

A section containing data arranged in rows and columns. See related grid.

The table role is intended for tabular containers which are not interactive. If the tabular container maintains a selection state, provides its own two-dimensional navigation, or allows the user to rearrange or otherwise manipulate its contents or the display thereof, authors SHOULD use grid or treegrid instead.

Authors SHOULD prefer the use of the host language's semantics for table whenever possible, such as the <table> element in HTML.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Subclass Roles:
Base Concept: <table> in HTML
Allowed Accessibility Child Roles:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True

tablist role

A list of tab elements, which are references to tabpanel elements.

To be keyboard accessible, authors SHOULD manage focus of descendants for all instances of this role, as described in Managing Focus.

For a single-selectable tablist, authors SHOULD hide from all users other tabpanel elements until the user selects the tab associated with that tabpanel. For a multi-selectable tablist, authors SHOULD ensure that the tab for each visible tabpanel has the aria-expanded attribute set to true, and that the tabs associated with the remaining hidden from all users tabpanel elements have their aria-expanded attributes set to false.

tablist elements are typically placed near usually preceding, a series of tabpanel elements. See the ARIA Authoring Practices Guide for details on implementing a tab set design pattern.

Elements with the role tablist have an implicit aria-orientation value of horizontal.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Allowed Accessibility Child Roles: tab
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-orientation is horizontal.

tabpanel role

A container for the resources associated with a tab, where each tab is contained in a tablist.

Authors SHOULD associate a tabpanel element with its tab, by using the aria-controls attribute on the tab to reference the tab panel, and/or by using the aria-labelledby attribute on the tab panel to reference the tab.

tablist elements are typically placed near, usually preceding, a series of tabpanel elements. See the ARIA Authoring Practices Guide for details on implementing a tab set design pattern.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True

term role

A word or phrase with an optional corresponding definition. See related definition.

The term role is used to explicitly identify a word or phrase for which a definition has been provided by the author or is expected to be provided by the user. If there is an existing definition, or a form or form control to enter a definition, authors SHOULD set aria-details to point to the related element.

Authors SHOULD NOT use the term role on interactive elements such as links because doing so could prevent users of assistive technologies from interacting with those elements.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

textbox role

A type of input that allows free-form text as its value.

If the aria-multiline attribute is true, the widget accepts line breaks within the input, as in an HTML textarea. Otherwise, this is a simple text box. The intended use is for languages that do not have a text input element, or cases in which an element with different semantics is repurposed as a text field.

Authors MUST limit the children of a textbox to non-interactive, entirely presentational elements such as icons used to visually convey information that is already exposed in an accessible manner. Examples include:

  • an error icon, where the containing textbox has been provided an aria-invalid, aria-errormessage, or both attributes;
  • an icon of a user silhouette, where the textbox is also visibly labeled or provided an accessible name of "name" or "username"; and
  • a graphical status indicator, such as a gauge to represent characters remaining, which represents dynamically updating text available outside of the textbox.
Note

In most user agent implementations, the default behavior of the ENTER or RETURN key is different between the single-line and multi-line text fields in HTML. When user has focus in a single-line <input type="text"> element, the keystroke usually submits the form. When user has focus in a multi-line <textarea> element, the keystroke inserts a line break. The WAI-ARIA textbox role differentiates these types of boxes with the aria-multiline attribute, so authors are advised to be aware of this distinction when designing the field.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: input
Subclass Roles:
Related Concepts:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True

time role

An element that represents a specific point in time.

Note

At the present time, there are no WAI-ARIA properties corresponding to the datetime attribute supported on <time> in HTML. The addition of this property will be considered for ARIA version 1.3.

Authors SHOULD limit text contents to a valid date- or time-related string, or apply this future datetime-equivalent property to the element which has role time.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Related Concepts:
Inherited States and Properties:
Prohibited States and Properties:
Name From: prohibited

timer role

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.

The text contents of the timer object indicate the current time measurement, and are updated as that amount changes. The timer value is not necessarily machine parsable, but authors SHOULD update the text contents at fixed intervals, except when the timer is paused or reaches an end-point.

Elements with the role timer have an implicit aria-live value of off.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: status
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-live is off.

toolbar role

A collection of commonly used function buttons or controls represented in compact visual form.

The toolbar is often a subset of functions found in a menubar, designed to reduce user effort in using these functions. Authors MUST supply a label on each toolbar when the application contains more than one toolbar.

Authors MAY manage focus of descendants for all instances of this role, as described in Managing Focus.

Elements with the role toolbar have an implicit aria-orientation value of horizontal.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: group
Related Concepts:
Supported States and Properties: aria-orientation
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-orientation is horizontal.

tooltip role

A contextual popup that displays a description for an element.

The tooltip typically becomes visible, after a short delay, in response to a mouse hover, or after the accessibility parent receives keyboard focus. The use of a WAI-ARIA tooltip is a supplement to the normal tooltip behavior of the user agent.

Note

Typical tooltip delays last from one to five seconds.

Authors SHOULD ensure that elements with the role tooltip are referenced through the use of aria-describedby before or at the time the tooltip is displayed.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: section
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From:
  • contents
  • author

tree role

A widget that allows the user to select one or more items from a hierarchically organized collection.

To be keyboard accessible, authors SHOULD manage focus of descendants for all instances of this role, as described in Managing Focus.

Elements with the role tree have an implicit aria-orientation value of vertical.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role: select
Subclass Roles:
Allowed Accessibility Child Roles:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True
Implicit Value for Role: Default for aria-orientation is vertical.

treegrid role

A grid whose rows can be expanded and collapsed in the same manner as for a tree.

If aria-readonly is set on an element with role treegrid, user agents MUST propagate the value to all gridcell elements that are accessibility descendants of the treegrid and expose the value in the accessibility API. An author MAY override the propagated value of aria-readonly for an individual gridcell element.

When the aria-readonly attribute is applied to a focusable gridcell, it indicates whether the content contained in the gridcell is editable. The aria-readonly attribute does not represent availability of functions for navigating or manipulating the treegrid itself.

In a treegrid that provides content editing functions, if the content of a focusable gridcell element is not editable, authors MAY set aria-readonly to true on the gridcell element. However, if a treegrid presents a collection of elements that do not support aria-readonly, such as a collection of link elements, it is not necessary for the author to specify a value for aria-readonly.

To be keyboard accessible, authors SHOULD manage focus of descendants for all instances of this role, as described in Managing Focus.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Allowed Accessibility Child Roles:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From: author
Accessible Name Required: True

treeitem role

An item in a tree.

A treeitem element can contain a sub-level group of elements that can be expanded or collapsed. An expandable collection of treeitem elements are enclosed in an element with the group role.

Authors MUST ensure elements with role treeitem are accessibility children of an element with role tree or an element with role group that is the accessibility child of an element with role treeitem.

In certain conditions, a user agent MAY provide an implicit value for aria-selected for each treeitem in a tree, and if it does, the user agent MUST ensure the following conditions are met before providing an implicit value:

If a user agent provides an implicit aria-selected value for a treeitem, the value SHOULD be true if the treeitem has DOM focus or the tree has DOM focus and the treeitem is referenced by aria-activedescendant. Otherwise, if a user agent provides an implicit aria-selected value for a treeitem, the value SHOULD be false.

Authors MAY indicate selection for treeitem elements using either aria-selected or aria-checked. Some user interfaces indicate selection with aria-selected in single-select trees and with aria-checked in multi-select trees. Authors SHOULD NOT specify both aria-selected and aria-checked on treeitem elements contained by the same tree except in the extremely rare circumstances where all the following conditions are met:

  • The meaning and purpose of aria-selected is different from the meaning and purpose of aria-checked in the user interface.
  • The user interface makes the meaning and purpose of each state apparent.
  • The user interface provides a separate method for controlling each state.
Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Superclass Role:
Required Accessibility Parent Roles:
Supported States and Properties:
Inherited States and Properties:
Name From:
  • contents
  • author
Accessible Name Required: True

widget role

An interactive component of a graphical user interface (GUI).

Widgets are discrete user interface objects with which the user can interact. Widget roles map to standard features in accessibility APIs. When the user navigates an element assigned any of the non-abstract subclass roles of widget, assistive technologies that typically intercept standard keyboard events SHOULD switch to an application browsing mode, and pass keyboard events through to the web application. The intent is to hint to certain assistive technologies to switch from normal browsing mode into a mode more appropriate for interacting with a web application; some user agents have a browse navigation mode where keys, such as up and down arrows, are used to browse the document, and this native behavior prevents the use of these keys by a web application.

widget is an abstract role used for the ontology. Authors MUST NOT use widget role in content.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Is Abstract: True
Superclass Role: roletype
Subclass Roles:
Inherited States and Properties:

window role

A browser or application window.

Elements with this role have a window-like behavior in a graphical user interface (GUI) context, regardless of whether they are implemented as a native window in the operating system, or merely as a section of the document styled to look like a window.

window is an abstract role used for the ontology. Authors MUST NOT use window role in content.

Note

In the description of this role, the term "application" does not refer to the application role, which specifies specific assistive technology behaviors.

Characteristics:
Characteristic Value
Is Abstract: True
Superclass Role: roletype
Subclass Roles:
Supported States and Properties: aria-modal
Inherited States and Properties:

6. Supported States and Properties

6.1 Clarification of States versus Properties

The terms "states" and "properties" refer to similar features. Both provide specific information about an object, and both form part of the definition of the nature of roles. In this document, states and properties are both treated as aria-prefixed markup attributes. However, they are maintained conceptually distinct to clarify subtle differences in their meaning. One major difference is that the values of properties (such as aria-labelledby) are often less likely to change throughout the application life-cycle than the values of states (such as aria-checked) which might change frequently due to user interaction. Note that the frequency of change difference is not a rule; a few properties, such as aria-valuetext are expected to change often. Because the distinction between states and properties is of little consequence to most authors, this specification refers to both "states" and "properties" simply as "attributes" whenever possible. See the definitions of state and property for more information.

6.2 Characteristics of States and Properties

States and properties have the characteristics described in the following sections.

Advisory information about features from this or other languages that correspond to this state or property. While the correspondence might not be exact, it is useful to help understand the intent of the state or property.

6.2.2 Used in Roles

Advisory information about roles that use this state or property. This information is provided to help understand the appropriate usage of the state or property. Use of a given state or property is not defined when used on roles other than those listed.

6.2.3 Inherits into Roles

Advisory information about roles that inherit the state or property from an ancestor role.

6.2.4 Value

Value type of the state or property. The value is one of the following types:

true/false
Value representing either true or false. The default value for this value type is false unless otherwise specified.
tristate
Value representing true, false, mixed, or undefined values. The default value for this value type is undefined unless otherwise specified.
true/false/undefined
Value representing true, false, or undefined (not applicable). The default value for this value type is undefined unless otherwise specified. For example, an element with aria-expanded set to false is not currently expanded; an element with aria-expanded set to undefined is not expandable.
ID reference
Reference to the ID of another element in the same document
ID reference list
A list of one or more ID references.
integer
A numerical value without a fractional component.
number
Any real numerical value.
string
Unconstrained value type.
token
One of a limited set of allowed values. The default value is defined in each attribute's Values table, as specified in the Attribute Values section.
token list
A list of one or more tokens.

These are generic types for states and properties, but do not define specific representation. See State and Property Attribute Processing for details on how these values are expressed and handled in host languages.

6.3 ARIA Attributes

6.3.1 Multi-value Attribute Values

When the ARIA attribute definition includes a table listing the attribute's allowed values, that attribute is a multi-value nullable attribute. Each value in the table is a keyword for the attribute, mapping to a state of the same name.

6.3.2 IDL reflection of ARIA attributes

All ARIA attributes reflect in IDL as nullable DOMString attributes. This includes the boolean-like true/false type, and all other ARIA attributes.

Default values from the ARIA values tables MUST NOT reflect to IDL as the missing value default or the invalid value default for the attribute. On getting, a missing ARIA attribute will return null. ARIA attributes are not validated on get. If an ARIA value is invalid, on getting, it will return its set value as a literal string, and will not return an invalid value default.

6.3.3 Operating System Accessibility API mapping of multi-value ARIA attributes

Unlike IDL reflection, operating system accessibility API mappings of ARIA attributes can have defaults. Any default values from the ARIA values tables are exposed to the operating system accessibility API as described in 5.2.3 Supported States and Properties, and in Core Accessibility API Mappings 1.1.

6.3.4 ARIA nullable DOMString Attributes

As noted in A. Mapping WAI-ARIA Value types to languages, attributes are included in host languages, and the syntax for representation of WAI-ARIA types is governed by the host language.

The following algorithm should be used for ARIA nullable DOMString attributes in HTML:

On getting, if the corresponding content attribute is not present, then the IDL attribute must return null, otherwise, the IDL attribute must get the value in a transparent, case-preserving manner. On setting, if the new value is null, the content attribute must be removed, and otherwise, the content attribute must be set to the specified new value in a transparent, case-preserving manner.

Note

Note: As of ARIA 1.2, all ARIA attributes exposed via IDL are defined as nullable DOMStrings. This matches the current implementation of all major rendering engines. This specification change should result in no implementation changes; it will merely represent the current reality of web engines. However, in a future draft, the ARIA Working Group intends to change several ARIA attributes to non-nullable DOMStrings, and seek implementations. The proposed change will bring ARIA into alignment with the HTML’s usage of enumerated attributes.

6.3.4.1 Example Attribute Usage

This section is non-normative.

6.4 Translatable Attributes

The HTML specification states that other specifications can define translatable attributes. The language and directionality of each attribute value is the same as the language and directionality of the element.

To be understandable by assistive technology users, the values of the following states and properties are translatable attributes and should be translated when a page is localized:

6.5 Global States and Properties

Some states and properties are applicable to all host language elements regardless of whether a role is applied. The following global states and properties are supported by all roles and by all base markup elements unless otherwise prohibited. If a role prohibits use of any global states or properties, those states or properties are listed as prohibited in the characteristics table included in the section that defines the role.

6.6 Taxonomy of WAI-ARIA States and Properties

States and properties are categorized as follows:

  1. Widget Attributes
  2. Live Region Attributes
  3. Drag-and-Drop Attributes
  4. Relationship Attributes

6.6.1 Widget Attributes

This section contains attributes specific to common user interface elements found on GUI systems or in rich internet applications which receive user input and process user actions. These attributes are used to support the widget roles.

Widget attributes might be mapped by a user agent to platform accessibility API state, for access by assistive technologies, or they might be accessed directly from the DOM.

6.6.2 Live Region Attributes

This section contains attributes specific to live regions in rich internet applications. These attributes MAY be applied to any element. The purpose of these attributes is to indicate that content changes might occur without the element having focus, and to provide assistive technologies with information on how to process those content updates. Some roles specify a default value for the aria-live attribute specific to that role. An example of a live region is a ticker section that lists updating stock quotes. User agents MAY ignore changes triggered by direct user action on an element inside a live region (e.g., editing the value of a text field).

6.6.3 Drag-and-Drop Attributes

This section lists attributes which indicate information about drag-and-drop interface elements, such as draggable elements and their drop targets. Drop target information will be rendered visually by the author and provided to assistive technologies through an alternate modality.

6.6.4 Relationship Attributes

This section lists attributes that indicate relationships or associations between elements which cannot be readily determined from the document structure.

6.7 State change notification

User agents MUST provide a way for assistive technologies to be notified when states change, either through DOM attribute change events or platform accessibility API events.

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

Below is an alphabetical list of WAI-ARIA states and properties to be used by authors. A detailed definition of each WAI-ARIA state and property follows this compact list.

aria-activedescendant
Identifies the currently active element when DOM focus is on a composite widget, combobox, textbox, group, or application.
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.
aria-autocomplete
Indicates whether inputting text could trigger display of one or more predictions of the user's intended value for a combobox, searchbox, or textbox and specifies how predictions would be presented if they were made.
aria-braillelabel
Defines a string value that labels the current element, which is intended to be converted into Braille. See related aria-label.
aria-brailleroledescription
Defines a human-readable, author-localized abbreviated description for the role of an element, which is intended to be converted into Braille. See related aria-roledescription.
aria-busy
Indicates an element is being modified and that assistive technologies could wait until the modifications are complete before exposing them to the user.
aria-checked
Indicates the current "checked" state of checkboxes, radio buttons, and other widgets. See related aria-pressed and aria-selected.
aria-colcount
Defines the total number of columns in a table, grid, or treegrid. See related aria-colindex.
aria-colindex
Defines an element's column index or position with respect to the total number of columns within a table, grid, or treegrid. See related aria-colindextext, aria-colcount, and aria-colspan.
aria-colindextext
Defines a human readable text alternative of aria-colindex. See related aria-rowindextext.
aria-colspan
Defines the number of columns spanned by a cell or gridcell within a table, grid, or treegrid. See related aria-colindex and aria-rowspan.
aria-controls
Identifies the element (or elements) whose contents or presence are controlled by the current element. See related aria-owns.
aria-current
Indicates the element that represents the current item within a container or set of related elements.
aria-describedby
Identifies the element (or elements) that describes the object. See related aria-labelledby and aria-description.
aria-description
Defines a string value that describes or annotates the current element. See related aria-describedby.
aria-details
Identifies the element (or elements) that provide additional information related to the object. See related aria-describedby.
aria-disabled
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
[Deprecated in ARIA 1.1] Indicates what functions can be performed when a dragged object is released on the drop target.
aria-errormessage
Identifies the element (or elements) that provides an error message for an object. See related aria-invalid and aria-describedby.
aria-expanded
Indicates whether a grouping element that is the accessibility child of or is controlled by this element is 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
[Deprecated in ARIA 1.1] Indicates an element's "grabbed" state in a drag-and-drop operation.
aria-haspopup
Indicates the availability and type of interactive popup element, such as menu or dialog, that can be triggered by an element.
aria-hidden
Indicates, when set to true, that an element and its entire subtree are hidden from assistive technology, regardless of whether it is visibly rendered.
aria-invalid
Indicates the entered value does not conform to the format expected by the application. See related aria-errormessage.
aria-keyshortcuts
Defines keyboard shortcuts that an author has implemented to activate or give focus to an element.
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-modal
Indicates whether an element is modal when displayed.
aria-multiline
Indicates whether a text box accepts multiple lines of input or only a single line.
aria-multiselectable
Indicates that the user can select more than one item from the current selectable descendants.
aria-orientation
Indicates whether the element's orientation is horizontal, vertical, or unknown/ambiguous.
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-placeholder
Defines a short hint (a word or short phrase) intended to aid the user with data entry when the control has no value. A hint could be a sample value or a brief description of the expected format.
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
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 notifications the user agent will trigger when the accessibility tree within a live region is modified. See related aria-atomic.
aria-required
Indicates that user input is required on the element before a form can be submitted.
aria-roledescription
Defines a human-readable, author-localized description for the role of an element.
aria-rowcount
Defines the total number of rows in a table, grid, or treegrid. See related aria-rowindex.
aria-rowindex
Defines an element's row index or position with respect to the total number of rows within a table, grid, or treegrid. See related aria-rowindextext, aria-rowcount, and aria-rowspan.
aria-rowindextext
Defines a human readable text alternative of aria-rowindex. See related aria-colindextext.
aria-rowspan
Defines the number of rows spanned by a cell or gridcell within a table, grid, or treegrid. See related aria-rowindex and aria-colspan.
aria-selected
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.

aria-activedescendant property

Identifies the currently active element when DOM focus is on a composite widget, combobox, textbox, group, or application.

The aria-activedescendant property provides an alternative method of managing focus for interactive elements that might contain multiple focusable descendants, such as menus, grids, and toolbars. Instead of moving DOM focus among accessibility descendants, authors MAY set DOM focus on a container element that supports aria-activedescendant and then use aria-activedescendant to refer to the element that is active.

Authors MUST ensure that one of the following two sets of conditions is met when setting the value of aria-activedescendant on an element with DOM focus:

  1. The value of aria-activedescendant refers to an accessibility descendant.
  2. The element with DOM focus is a combobox, textbox or searchbox with aria-controls referring to an element that supports aria-activedescendant, and the value of aria-activedescendant refers to an accessibility descendant of the controlled element. For example, in a combobox, focus can remain on the combobox while the value of aria-activedescendant on the combobox element refers to a descendant of a popup listbox that is controlled by the combobox.

Authors SHOULD also ensure that the currently active descendant is visible and in view (or scrolls into view) when focused.