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NVDA not recognizing role="region"


From: Birkir R. Gunnarsson
Date: Dec 26, 2013 2:09PM

Greetings guys.

I hope you had yourselves a merry little Christmas (or whatever you
choose to call the holiday) and are getting ready for a happy,
prosperous and accessible 2014.
I have one question for you in that respect.
There are situations where I feel no ARIA landmark role except region
is suitable for the type of content that is being displayed on a page.
This is particularly common for content whose visibility is toggled
with Javascript and CSS for instance.
Often this is content that contains a mixture of links and text, such
as customer info, banking info etc.
The WAI-ARIA roles model
does allow this role to be used, see
though it is recommended that more specific ARIA landmark roles be
used whenever possible, which I agree with.
However, NVDA neither recognizes a div with role="region" as a
landmark, nor does it announce its aria-label or aria-labelledby
properties (obviously).
Jaws recognizes the region, includes it in its list of landmarks and
announces its accessible name, both in IE and FF.
My question is basically whether I am over interpreting the region
attribute and misappropriating it, or whether NVDA is too strict in
their interpretation of the role.
If you know of existing discussions or notes in NVDA regarding
role="region" it would be most appreciated, as well as any general
opinions you may have.
I wanted to bring this up here first, as I am sure others have
wondered about it, and perhaps my testing is inaccurate (though I have
tried two different versions of NVDA with two different versions of
I will subsequently take it to the NVDA appropriate discussion list or
issue ticket database unless someone tells me this has been discussed
and my interpretation of this aria landmark role is overly generous.
I just do not see any other role that fits the type of content I am
looking at, and the section element, I believe, is not yet backwards
compatible enough to be used in place of this landmark role. I also
believe this is a valuable tool to non-visually designate an area of a
webpage, particularly when loaded via scripting and one which has a
relationship with a triggering element elsewhere on the page.

Birkir Gunnarsson
Accessibility SME | Deque Systems

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