WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: The importance of landmarks to screen readers?


From: Christine Hogenkamp
Date: Mar 25, 2021 2:44PM

Thank you very much to everyone who has shared their wisdom on this
subject! I have shared all your remarks with my team for us to contemplate
and use as reference for our efforts to improve our development process for
better accessible websites.

I had completely forgotten about the WebAIM survey, that is an excellent
way to get an idea at a glance how often landmarks (and other elements) are
used, so thank you for the reminder and handy link!

Basically we are trying to figure out what is the best way to offer screen
reader users navigation tools within the site/page that caters
to screen reader users' expectations (as some have pointed out, if not many
sites bother to use landmarks, it makes sense a screen reader user wouldn't
bother to look for them) but also how they might wish a website was coded
to make their navigation easier - offer site code improvements where we
can. We don't want users to ever feel lost or that they are denied the
shortcuts they expect/want for moving quickly between sections or different

I'm usually the one tasked with assessing our efforts, testing our sites
with a mixture of automated checkers such as the ARCToolkit and aXe, but
also manual testing with NVDA and just looking at the code structure itself
for well-organized content. I've been slowly figuring out what
warnings/errors in checkers are false positives, but it definitely takes a
cognitive load of its own to figure out what errors can be safely ignored
but also what errors may not be caught at all by checkers since they are
more context-dependent.

We are definitely tackling better labelling for ARIA etc; one of my to-do's
that's ongoing is to get a better handle on the relationship between what a
screen reader announces and what we've coded/what is displayed in HTML on
the page. Sometimes this relationship is not as obvious as I might expect,
for example last week I learned that the use of aria-haspopup can prompt
the screen-reader to announce "submenu" - which makes sense, in retrospect
but when the code has a lot of elements and attributes going on, it can
sometimes be tricky to tease out which aspect is causing the particular

Thanks again!

*Christine Hogenkamp (She, Her)*
Front-end Developer