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Bug 10484 - default roles for figcaption and caption: Make it simple to achieve accessibility
Summary: default roles for figcaption and caption: Make it simple to achieve accessibi...
Alias: None
Product: HTML WG
Classification: Unclassified
Component: pre-LC1 HTML5 spec (editor: Ian Hickson) (show other bugs)
Version: unspecified
Hardware: All All
: P1 major
Target Milestone: LC
Assignee: steve faulkner
QA Contact: HTML WG Bugzilla archive list
Depends on: 10066
Blocks: 10480 10495
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Reported: 2010-08-29 00:55 UTC by Leif Halvard Silli
Modified: 2013-01-21 13:19 UTC (History)
8 users (show)

See Also:


Description Leif Halvard Silli 2010-08-29 00:55:04 UTC
GOAL: Make <table> and <figure> simple to use in a accessible way, by defining simple and logical role mappings for <caption> and <figcaption>.


   EITHER: set the default role of <figcaption> and <caption> to heading (same as for <summary>). 

   OR  PERHAPS BETTER: set the default role of  figcaption/caption as "heading", _on the condition_ that the parent <figure>/<table> element has a role that makes this logical.  A lists of roles needs to be specified. But  for example, with <figure role="img"> or <figure role="note">, then it should be logical that <figcaption> defaults to role="heading". Same for <table>, if it has role="grid" or "treegrid", then  it is logical that <caption> has role="heading". 

The goal is that user agents, once they support <figure>,<table> and ARIA, do not have to relyl on authors using aria-labelledby in order to identify the caption. 

Accessibility through minimum effort should be favored:

Minimum effort = no _need_ (in supporting UAs) to use a aria-labelledby to identify the caption. (ARIA 1.0 has a SHOULD about this, however, I perceive that as a best practise rule.) All that should be needed, is to a) use <figcaption>/<caption> and b) give the parent element (figure/table) a role that automatically makes the captioning element be seen as having role="heading".

Maximum effort = need to identify the caption via aria-labelledby, despite that it is obvious that the <caption>/<figcaption> captions the parent element.
Comment 1 Ian 'Hixie' Hickson 2010-09-07 17:51:48 UTC
EDITOR'S RESPONSE: This is an Editor's Response to your comment. If you are satisfied with this response, please change the state of this bug to CLOSED. If you have additional information and would like the editor to reconsider, please reopen this bug. If you would like to escalate the issue to the full HTML Working Group, please add the TrackerRequest keyword to this bug, and suggest title and text for the tracker issue; or you may create a tracker issue yourself, if you are able to do so. For more details, see this document:

Status: Rejected
Change Description: no spec change
Rationale: For <figcaption> and <caption>: ARIA doesn't have a clear role that fits here, so having a default seems bad — it would be better to let the UA map things to the accessibility APIs directly, following platform conventions. On the other hand, there are lots of roles that might fit in various circumstances, so we don't want to disallow roles. Hence the situation in the spec now.

I would rather leave magic like defaulting roles based on other roles to the ARIA spec editors. It doesn't seem like something that would be HTML-specific. If ARIA could be simplified, the place to do that is the ARIA spec, not the HTML spec.
Comment 2 Martin Kliehm 2011-01-11 16:21:49 UTC
Adding the ARIA keyword and assigning to Steve, also a11yTF because the sub-triage sub-team sees this related to ISSUE-129 and therefore it would be TF priority.