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Re: html5 and ARIA landmark roles


From: Léonie Watson
Date: Nov 18, 2015 2:44PM

> From: WebAIM-Forum On Behalf Of Joseph Sherman
> Sent: 18 November 2015 19:39
> Should developers add ARIA roles to html5 elements with default roles, like
> nav, main, header(banner), footer(contentinfo)? My testing shows different
> treatment of the html5 elements between various browsers and AT
> combinations.

IE does not support the <main> element, and it does not have accessibility support for other elements that are native HTML counterparts to ARIA landmark roles. Firefox, Safari, and Chrome (plus other Blink based browsers) have accessibility support for these elements. You can find out which browsers have implimented and/or have accessibility support on html5accessibility.com.

Depending on how a screen reader obtains information from the browser, behaviour differs further. For example, Jaws obtains information directly from the DOM in IE and so it supports these landmark elements in spite of the fact that IE itself doesn't have accessibility support. NVDA on the other hand uses the platform accessibility APIs to obtain information from IE and so it doesn't support these landmark elements.

Whereas most current browsers implicitly support the mapping of ARIA landmark roles to HTML elements, older browsers and screen readers are less likely to. There was also a time when ARIA support was more advanced in both browsers and screen readers than HTML5 support. This too can influence the decision as to whether you need to apply landmark roles explicitly to their HTML element counterparts.


Senior accessibility engineer @LeonieWatson @PacielloGroup