September 29, 2008
As Birmingham bruiser Brucey pointed out over the weekend, the W3C are keen for web developers to start embracing WAI-ARIA techniques now. As he said:
The Web Accessiiblity Initiative’s Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite, WAI-ARIA is a simple way to add information to HTML that can make Ajax applications accessible. It’s being supported by all the big four browsers and screenreaders are starting to support it. … Therefore, although the specification is still formally in “Working Draft” status, the W3C are encouraging authors to use it now.
I’m keen to put this in to use with something, but have been so careful to avoid AJAX and the like for some time that it’s actually quite a difficult thing to break out of that mindset. But the moment that I do see an opportunity, I’ll be implementing ARIA.
June 25, 2008
It almost slipped my mind - I was too busy marvelling at the speed and efficiency with which Firefox 3 handle multiple open tabs compared to Firefox 2 - but with that browser’s v3 release last week came a big accessibility enhancement in the form of WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative - Accessible Rich Internet Applications) support. As stated on RNIB’s Web Access Centre Blog:
This is an exciting time in the browser area as support for the Web Accessibility Initiative - Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) suite gathers pace in the next generation of browsers. Browsers with support, partial support and planned support for WAI-ARIA include Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 3, Opera and Web Kit based browsers including Apple’s Safari.
Things are looking better and better on this front, and I’m looking forward to the forthcoming articles on WAI-ARIA that WACblog promises.
May 27, 2007
The RNIB Web Access Team will be host to Shawn Henry, W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), and author of Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design who will be presenting on What’s New, WCAG 2.0, and Current Issues.
In this session Shawn will highlight recent developments in accessibility guidelines for Web sites, Web applications, evaluation tools, authoring tools, and browsers. Learn how these impact your Web projects now and how they provide flexibility for the future.
Shawn will answer your questions about Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG), User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG), and the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite (WAI-ARIA). She’ll talk about how WAI develops accessibility guidelines through the W3C process, upcoming milestones for 2.0 versions, and how you can contribute to W3C’s work.
She’ll also touch on the relationship between accessibility and usability, the role of accessibility standards, and designing positive user experiences for people with disabilities.
See the full post on the RNIB blog, which includes more info and sign-up details for Shawn’s free session.
April 12, 2007
In this month’s issue of A List Apart, Martin Kliehm gives us a peek at the potential of Accessible Web 2.0 Applications with WAI-ARIA:
Web 2.0 applications often have accessibility and usability problems because of the limitations of (X)HTML. The W3C’s standards draft for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) addresses those limitations. It provides new ways of communicating meaning, importance, and relationships, and it fills gaps in the (X)HTML specifications and increases usability for all users by enabling navigation models familiar from desktop applications. Best of all, you can start using ARIA right away to enhance the accessibility of your websites.
Currently only Firefox 1.5 or later and three major screen readers (Window Eyes 5.5+, Jaws 7.0+, ZoomText) support them, but the extra attributes won’t hurt other browsers.
December 27, 2006
You may think that it’s a lost cause trying to get web apps/pages that use AJAX and the like to work on today’s browsers and assistive technology. Sure, it’s a pig of a thing to sort out but you, dear reader, are not powerless. Some time back (September this year), the W3C working group for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) set out plans to address the various issues surrounding these types of non-trivial web pages (in other words, web pages that look/behave more like desktop applications).
Now they are after your help. The draft suite of documents that form the basis of ARIA’s work is up for public review. The three documents for review are:
Closing date for public review is 19th January. So, if you’ve been lamenting the state of play of AJAX and accessibility, now’s your chance to do something practical to help out.