Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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ARIA14: Using aria-label to provide an invisible label where a visible label cannot be used


Technologies that support Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA).

This technique relates to:

User Agent and Assistive Technology Support Notes

See User Agent Support for WAI-ARIA for general information on user agent support.

Screen reader support varies depending on browser:

Here are the results of some detailed testing:


For sighted users, the context and visual appearance of an element can provide sufficient cues to determine the purpose. An example is the 'X' often used in the top right corner of pop-up divs (light boxes) to indicate the control for closing the div.

In some situations, elements can be given the attribute aria-label to provide an accessible name for situations when there is no visible label due to a chosen design approach or layout but the context and visual appearance of the control make its purpose clear.

In other situations, elements can be given the attribute aria-label to provide an accessible name when the native HTML labeling element is not supported by the control - for example, when a div set to contentEditable is used instead of native form elements such as input type="text" or textarea in order to provide a richer text editing experience.


Example 1: A close button (X) in a pop-up box

On a page, a link displays a pop-up box (a div) with additional information. The 'close' element is implemented as a button containing merely the letter 'x'. The property aria-label="close" is used to provide an accessible name to the button.

<div id="box">
   This is a pop-up box.
   <button aria-label="Close" onclick="document.getElementById('box').style.display='none';" class="close-button">X</button>				

Example from Example close button

Example 2: A phone number with multiple fields

<div role="group" aria-labelledby="groupLabel">
  <span id="groupLabel>Work Phone</span>
  +<input type="number" aria-label="country code">
  <input type="number" aria-label="area code">
  <input type="number" aria-label="subscriber number">


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For elements that use aria-label:

  1. Check that the value of the aria-label attribute properly describes the purpose of an element where user input is required

Expected Results

If this is a sufficient technique for a success criterion, failing this test procedure does not necessarily mean that the success criterion has not been satisfied in some other way, only that this technique has not been successfully implemented and can not be used to claim conformance.

Techniques are Informative

Techniques are informative—that means they are not required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard—not the techniques. For important information about techniques, please see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.