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Re: The importance of landmarks to screen readers?


From: Steve Green
Date: Mar 29, 2021 10:19AM

The specification also states "The complementary role indicates that contained content is relevant to the main content." That only makes sense if the complementary landmark is outside the main content.


-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of glen walker
Sent: 29 March 2021 16:52
To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] The importance of landmarks to screen readers?

I tried to avoid this because I'm kind of nit-picking things a bit but be careful when you state something violates the spec.

The spec for the complementary landmark says "A supporting section of the document, designed to be complementary to the main content at a similar level in the DOM hierarchy, but remains meaningful when separated from the main content." There's nothing in the wording that requires the developer to do anything in particular. It hints at putting a complementary landmark at the same level of the DOM as the main landmark but is certainly not required, so *not* doing that is not a violation of anything.

If the spec requires a developer to do something, it will say "Authors MUST...".
If the spec strongly encourages but not necessarily requires a developer to do something, it will say "Authors SHOULD..."
In the case of complementary, it doesn't say either.

WCAG tells you how to find the definitions of MUST and SHOULD at https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/#interpreting-normative-requirements
If you follow the footnotes, it'll eventually take you to
https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2119 where you'll see MUST means required and SHOULD means recommended (or strongly encouraged).

Notice in the complementary spec that it says "User agents SHOULD treat elements with the role of complementary as navigational landmarks."
That means browsers (user agents) are strongly encouraged to surface the complementary role as a landmark, but there might be cases where it's not.

Take a look at the region role, https://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria/#region.
Most of you probably know that a region landmark will be ignored by most screen readers if the region doesn't have an accessible name. Did you know that providing an accessible name is required? It's a MUST. "Authors MUST give each element with role region a brief label that describes the purpose of the content in the region." So if your region doesn't have an accessible name, you are violating the spec. There are several SHOULDs for region roles too.