Digital Publishing Accessibility API Mappings

W3C Editor's Draft

This version:
Latest published version:
Latest editor's draft:
(Igalia, S.L.)


The Digital Publishing Accessibility API Mappings (DPub-AAM) defines how user agents map the Digital Publishing WAI-ARIA Module [dpub-aria-1.0] markup to platform accessibility APIs. It is intended for user agent developers responsible for accessibility in their user agent so that they can support the accessibility content produced for digital publishing.

The implementation of this specification in user agents enables authors to produce more accessible e-books, by conveying structural book constructs used by the digital publishing industry to assistive technologies. It does this by extending the Core Accessibility API Mappings 1.1 [CORE-AAM-1.1] and the Accessible Name and Description: Computation and API Mappings 1.1 [ACCNAME-AAM-1.1] specifications for user agents. It provides Accessibility API Mapping guidance for the roles defined in the Digital Publish WAI-ARIA Module.

The DPub-AAM 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. Other documents may supersede this document. A list of current W3C publications and the latest revision of this technical report can be found in the W3C technical reports index at

This document was published by the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Working Group as an Editor's Draft. Comments regarding this document are welcome. Please send them to (subscribe, archives).

Publication as an Editor's Draft does not imply endorsement by the W3C Membership. 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 1 February 2018 W3C Process Document.

1. Introduction §

This section is non-normative.

2. Conformance §

As well as sections marked as non-normative, all authoring guidelines, diagrams, examples, and notes in this specification are non-normative. Everything else in this specification is normative.

The key words MAY, MUST, MUST NOT, OPTIONAL, RECOMMENDED, REQUIRED, SHALL, SHALL NOT, and SHOULD are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

This specification indicates whether a section is normative or informative and the classification applies to the entire section. A statement "This section is normative" or "This section is informative" applies to all sub-sections of that section.

Normative sections provide requirements that 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 a strong 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.

Informative sections provide information useful to understanding the specification. Such sections may contain examples of recommended practice, but it is not required to follow such recommendations in order to conform to this specification.

3. Important Terms §

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 Description

An accessible description provides additional information, related to an interface element, that complements the accessible name. The accessible description might or might not be visually perceivable.

Accessible Name

The accessible name is the name of a user interface element. Each platform accessibility API provides the accessible name property. The value of the accessible name may be derived from a visible (e.g., the visible text on a button) or invisible (e.g., the text alternative that describes an icon) property of the user interface element. See related accessible description.

A simple use for the accessible name property may be illustrated by an "OK" button. The text "OK" is the accessible name. When the button receives focus, assistive technologies may concatenate the platform's role description with the accessible name. For example, a screen reader may speak "push-button OK" or "OK button". The order of concatenation and specifics of the role description (e.g., "button", "push-button", "clickable button") are determined by platform accessibility APIs or assistive technologies.

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 may 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.

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.


Content provided for information purposes and not required for conformance. Content required for conformance is referred to as normative.


Required for conformance. By contrast, content identified as informative or "non-normative" is not required for conformance.


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 may represent one or more DOM objects. Accessibility APIs have defined interfaces that are distinct from DOM interfaces.

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 may 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.


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.


A state is a dynamic property expressing characteristics of an object that may 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.

User Agent

Any software that retrieves, renders and facilitates end user interaction with Web content. This definition may differ from that used in other documents.

4. Supporting Keyboard Navigation §

Enabling keyboard navigation in web applications is a necessary step toward making accessible web applications possible. Conforming user agents MUST conform to Supporting Keyboard Navigation requirements in [CORE-AAM-1.1].

5. Mapping WAI-ARIA to Accessibility APIs §

5.1 General rules for exposing WAI-ARIA semantics §

This section MUST conform to General rules for exposing WAI-ARIA semantics in [CORE-AAM-1.1].

6. Conflicts between native markup semantics and WAI-ARIA §

User agents MUST conform to Conflicts between native markup semantics and WAI-ARIA in [CORE-AAM-1.1].

7. Exposing attributes that do not directly map to accessibility API properties §

User agents MUST conform to Exposing attributes that do not directly map to accessibility API properties in [CORE-AAM-1.1].

8. Role mapping §

Platform accessibility APIs traditionally have had a finite set of predefined roles that are expected by assistive technologies on that platform and only one or two roles may be exposed. In contrast, WAI-ARIA allows multiple roles to be specified as an ordered set of space-separated valid role tokens. The additional roles are fallback roles similar to the concept of specifying multiple fonts in case the first choice font type is not supported.

8.1 General Rules §

User agents MUST conform to the Role Mapping General Rules accessibility API computational requirements in [CORE-AAM-1.1].

8.2 Role Mapping Table §


Translators: For label text associated with the following table and its toggle buttons, see the mappingTableLabels object in the <head> section of this document.

This section defines how WAI-ARIA digital publishing roles map to platform accessibility APIs. Elements having roles with a prefix value of doc-, that are not listed in this role mapping table, have no normative mappings.


There are a number of roles mappings that are localized. The group needs to look into localizing for non-English languages.


[Note 2] This specification does not currently contain guidance for when user agents should fire system alert events. Some guidance may be added to the specification at a later date but it will be a recommendation (should), not a requirement (must).

9. State and Property Mapping §

This section describes how to expose WAI-ARIA states and object properties. User agents MUST conform to the State and Property Mapping accessibility API computational requirements in [CORE-AAM-1.1].

10. Special Processing Requiring Additional Computation §

10.1 Name and Description §

When computing an accessible name or accessible description, user agents MUST conform to the section titled Text Alternative Computation of the [ACCNAME-AAM-1.1] specification.

10.2 Widget Values §

User agents MUST conform to the Widget Values accessibility API computational requirements in [CORE-AAM-1.1].

10.3 Relations §

User agents MUST conform to the Relation accessibility API computational requirements in [CORE-AAM-1.1].

10.4 Group Position §

User agents MUST conform to the Group Position accessibility API computational requirements in [CORE-AAM-1.1].

11. Actions §

User agents MUST conform to the Actions accessibility API computational requirements in [CORE-AAM-1.1].

12. Events §

User agents fire events for user actions, WAI-ARIA state changes, changes to document content or node visibility, changes in selection, and operation of menus. Conforming user agents MUST support the [CORE-AAM-1.1] Events mappings.

13. Special Document Handling Procedures §

User agents MUST conform to the Special Document Handling Procedures in [CORE-AAM-1.1].

A. Appendices §

A.1 Change Log §

A.1.1 Substantive changes since the last public working draft §

  • 20-Apr-2017: Update mappings. For AXAPI, the AXSubrole is now AXApplicationGroup for the following roles: doc-abstract, doc-colophon, doc-dedication, doc-epigraph, doc-example, doc-footnote, doc-pullquote, and doc-qna; the AXRoleDescription of doc-abstract is now 'group'; doc-pagebreak is now mapped to AXRole: AXSplitter, AXRoleDescription: 'splitter'; doc-notice and doc-tip are now mapped to AXSubrole: AXDocumentNote, AXRoleDescription: 'note'. For ATK/ATSPI2, doc-tip is now mapped to ROLE_COMMENT.
  • 20-Apr-2017: Map doc-pullquote for ATK/ATSPI2, IA2, and UIA.
  • 10-Mar-2016: Replace all ROLE_PANEL to ROLE_SECTION for ATK/ATSPI mappings
  • 10-Mar-2016: Replace doc-locator with doc-backlink
  • 10-Mar-2016: Remove doc-title
  • 10-Mar-2016: Remove doc-footnotes and add doc-endnote and doc-endnotes
  • 10-Mar-2016: Changed doc-pullquote to reflect no mappings
  • 10-Mar-2016: Change doc-cover to map to an image
  • 10-Mar-2016: Removed rendundant references section in the appendix
  • 10-Mar-2016: Fixed links for in configuration
  • 10-Mar-2016: Added a change log
  • 10-Mar-2016: Remove editors note regarding @rel
  • 10-Mar-2016: change xml-roles mapping for doc-pagelist to reflect the actual role
  • 10-Mar-2016: Fix doc-prologue in table to not say doc-preface
  • 10-Mar-2016: Fix doc-conclusion to map to ROLE_LANDMARK for ATK/ATSPI
  • 10-Mar-2016: changed doc-pagebreak to map to separator roles on IA2 and ATK/ATSPI
  • 10-Mar-2016: modify doc-toc mapping to be consistent with doc-pagelist
  • 10-Mar-2016: modify doc-subtitle to be a form of heading
  • 10-Mar-2016: modify doc-pagebreak to be more like a separator
  • 10-Mar-2016: Map doc-biblioentry and doc-endnote to ROLE_LIST_ITEM for ATK/ATSPI2; map doc-notice to ROLE_COMMENT for ATK/ATSPI2
  • 14-Jul-2016: Remove special processing copied over from SVG-AAM for name and description computation.
  • 26-Sep-2016: For macOS, modify doc-abstract, doc-acknowledgments, doc-afterword, doc-appendix, doc-bibliography, doc-chapter, doc-conclusion, doc-credits, doc-endnotes, doc-epilogue, doc-errata, doc-foreward, doc-glossary, doc-index, doc-introduction, doc-pagelist, doc-part, doc-pagebreak, doc-prologue, and doc-toc to be navigation or region landmarks.
  • 28-Sep-2016: doc-abstract, doc-colophon, doc-credit, doc-dedication, doc-epigraph, doc-example and doc-qna are all to IA2_ROLE_SECTION; doc-notice, doc-tip mapped to IA2_ROLE_NOTE; convert a number of MSAA and IA2 roles to have <code> styling

A.2 Acknowledgments §

This section is non-normative.

The following people contributed to the development of this document.

A.2.1 Participants active in the DPUB-ARIA task force at the time of publication §

  • Michael Cooper (W3C Staff)
  • Heather Flanagan (Invited expert)
  • Matt Garrish (DAISY Consortium)
  • Markus Gylling (DAISY Consortium)
  • Ivan Herman (W3C Staff)
  • Deborah Kaplan (Invited expert)
  • George Kerscher (DAISY Consortium)
  • Peter Krautzberger (W3C Invited Experts)
  • Charles LaPierre (Benetech)
  • Shane McCarron (W3C Invited Experts)
  • Janina Sajka (Invited Expert, The Linux Foundation)
  • Richard Schwerdtfeger (Knowbility)
  • Tzviya Siegman (Wiley)

The group would like to thank all members of the DAISY and EPUB 3 working groups who developed the structural semantics vocabulary from which this module was drawn, with special thanks to Sanders Kleinfeld for his assistance analyzing the initial set of semantics for inclusion.

A.2.2 Enabling funders §

This publication has been funded in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) under contract number ED-OSE-10-C-0067. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

B. References §

B.1 Normative references §

Accessible Name and Description Computation 1.1. Joanmarie Diggs; Bryan Garaventa; Michael Cooper. W3C. 19 June 2018. W3C Candidate Recommendation. URL:
Core Accessibility API Mappings 1.1. Joanmarie Diggs; Joseph Scheuhammer; Richard Schwerdtfeger; Michael Cooper; Andi Snow-Weaver; Aaron Leventhal. W3C. 14 December 2017. W3C Recommendation. URL:
Digital Publishing WAI-ARIA Module 1.0. Matt Garrish; Tzviya Siegman; Markus Gylling; Shane McCarron. W3C. 14 December 2017. W3C Recommendation. URL:
Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels. S. Bradner. IETF. March 1997. Best Current Practice. URL:

B.2 Informative references §

Assistive Technology Service Provider Interface. The GNOME Project. URL:
ATK - Accessibility Toolkit. The GNOME Project. URL:
The NSAccessibility Protocol for macOS. Apple, Inc. URL:
IAccessible2. Linux Foundation. URL:
Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) 2.0. Microsoft Corporation. URL:
UI Automation. Microsoft Corporation. URL:
The IAccessibleEx Interface. Microsoft Corporation. URL:
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. Andrew Kirkpatrick; Joshue O Connor; Alastair Campbell; Michael Cooper. W3C. 5 June 2018. W3C Recommendation. URL: