Web Accessibility Issues of ARIA
While developers can use ARIA attributes to enhance website accessibility, mistakes with ARIA can result in severe accessibility problems. Therefore developers must have a thorough knowledge of ARIA before they use them to program an accessible website. These mistakes can be hard to spot for regular users and business owners until someone faces an accessibility problem. That is why it is essential to test your website for accessibility before you launch it for your customers.
However, if you are using an AI-powered solution like accessiBe, these mistakes can be pointed out and even corrected automatically.
In this article, we are going to discuss some of the common ARIA mistakes that must be avoided by developers.
One of the worst things that developers can do is think that an ARIA label can be applied to make everything accessible. At times, programmers add ARIA labels to native HTML elements that already fulfill the accessibility APIs. The truth is, experienced developers always prefer the use of native HTML elements over ARIA labels for making an ada accessible website. They use aria-labels only when it is necessary.
Syntax errors are quite common in the programming world. When it comes to ARIA, some well-known syntax errors can present accessibility barriers.
Programmers often forget that role values in ARIA attributes are case sensitive. That means if the developers write “Link” instead of “link”, assistive technologies like screen readers will not be able to recognize that the attribute is for a link to another page or object.
If the developer makes an error in the spelling of an ARIA attribute, it will cause a syntax error and cause an accessibility barrier.
If a developer puts an incorrect role description, screen readers and other assistive devices will not understand it correctly. Similarly, role descriptions that do not exist for ARIA will not help with the accessibility of websites. For example, developers often use role=”error” for errors, which is not the correct description to show an error message.
Developers sometimes end up adding ARIA attributes that provide too much detailed information. For example, a programmer might need to label additional information for one form field but ends up adding them to all of them. So the assistive technology will repeat the information every time a user focuses on a form field, which can confuse the person.
Developers often make the mistake of copying large portions of code from a parent library without considering the implications of the ARIA attributes and their functions. For example, a programmer might copy some codes for the body of an article, while the ARIA label points to the heading. The screen reader will examine the information as a heading, which might confuse the user.
Sometimes developers assign child roles while the parent roles are missing, or vice versa. Parent roles or context roles are essential to define child roles for ARIA attributes. For example, a tab role will not function as desired without the tab-list context role.
Similarly, if the parent role is present without the child role, screen readers will not know what to do with that information. Imagine if the menu bar role gets assigned without the items of the menu. various screen readers will not be able to make sense of it. It may relay the roles, but that will confuse the user.
Developers often add incorrect ID reference values to ARIA attributes. These attributes can only function properly if they get assigned with the correct ID reference as their values. However, if the developer fails to provide an accurate reference ID value, the assistive technology will not relay the right message to the user.
While developers might have the right intentions to help people with disabilities, incorrect ARIA labels can become redundant or place additional accessibility barriers. When used accurately, ARIA labels can help a website meet the current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) and make it ADA compliant. So developers must get a thorough knowledge of ARIA labels and use them only when it is necessary.
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