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Technique ARIA22:Using role=status to present status messages

About this Technique

This technique is Sufficient to meet 4.1.3: Status Messages, using a more specific technique. and Sufficient to meet 4.1.3: Status Messages, if combined with G193: Providing help by an assistant in the Web page .


Content using WAI-ARIA.

This technique relates to:


This technique uses the status role from the ARIA specification to notify Assistive Technologies (AT) when content has been updated with information about the user's or application's status. This is done by adding role="status" to the element that contains the status message. The aria live region role of status has an implicit aria-live value of polite, which allows a user to be notified via AT (such as a screen reader) when status messages are added. The role of status also has a default aria-atomic value of true, so that updates to the container marked with a role of status will result in the AT presenting the entire contents of the container to the user, including any author-defined labels (or additional nested elements). Such additional context can be critical where the status message text alone will not provide an equivalent to the visual experience. The content of the aria-live container is automatically read by the AT, without the AT having to focus on the place where the text is displayed. See WAI-ARIA status (role) for more details.


Example 1: Including a search results message

After a user presses a Search button, the page content is updated to include the results of the search, which are displayed in a section below the Search button. The change to content also includes the message "5 results returned" near the top of this new content. This text is given an appropriate role for a status message. A screen reader will announce "5 results returned".

<div role="status">5 results returned.</div>

Working example: role=status on search results

Example 2: Updating the shopping cart status

After a user presses an Add to Shopping Cart button, content near the Shopping Cart icon updates to read "1 items". The container for this text (in this case a <p>) is marked with the role of status. Because it adds visual context, the shopping cart image — with succinct and accurate alt text — is also placed in the container. Due to the default aria-atomic value, a screen reader will announce "Shopping cart, six items".

<p role="status" >
  <img src="shopping-cart.png" alt="Shopping Cart">
  <span id="cart">0</span> items

Working example: role=status on a shopping cart



For each status message:

  1. Check that the container destined to hold the status message has a role attribute with a value of status before the status message occurs.
  2. Check that when the status message is triggered, it is inside the container.
  3. Check that elements or attributes that provide information equivalent to the visual experience for the status message (such as a shopping cart image with proper alt text) also reside in the container.

Expected Results

  • #1, #2 and #3 are true.
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