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Re: Is aria-hidden supposed to only hide content for screen readers/assistive technology, or is it supposed to hide content altogether?

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From: Steve Faulkner
Date: Dec 27, 2012 10:58AM


Hi Jared

Re-reading the spec [1]

It is clear to me that aria-hidden is designed to be used in conjunction with methods to hide content from all users such as display none. It itself does not hide content from all users. It is primarily a declarative method to flag the state of content as hidden for user agents that do not either interpret CSS display states or display states exposed via accessibility APIs.


Note the spec also indicates it is not recommended but NOT forbidden to use aria-hidden to hide visible content from AT users only.


"Authors MAY, with caution, use aria-hidden to hide visibly rendered content from assistive technologies only if the act of hiding this content is intended to improve the experience for users of assistive technologies by removing redundant or extraneous content. Authors using aria-hidden to hide visible content from screen readers MUST ensure that identical or equivalent meaning and functionality is exposed to assistive technologies."

"Note: Authors are advised to use extreme caution and consider a wide range of disabilities when hiding visibly rendered content from assistive technologies. For example, a sighted, dexterity-impaired individual may use voice-controlled assistive technologies to access a visual interface. If an author hides visible link text "Go to checkout" and exposes similar, yet non-identical link text "Check out now" to the accessibility API, the user may be unable to access the interface they perceive using voice control. Similar problems may also arise for screen reader users. For example, a sighted telephone support technician may attempt to have the blind screen reader user click the "Go to checkout" link, which they may be unable to find using a type-ahead item search ("Go to…")."


[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria/states_and_properties#aria-hidden