Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.0

W3C Working Draft 15 December 2009

This version:
Latest version:
Previous version:
James Craig, Apple Inc.
Michael Cooper, W3C
Previous Editors:
Lisa Pappas, Society for Technical Communication
Rich Schwerdtfeger, IBM
Lisa Seeman, UB Access

This document is also available as a single page version.


Accessibility of web content requires semantic information about widgets, structures, and behaviors, in order to allow assistive technologies to convey appropriate information to persons with disabilities. This specification provides an ontology of roles, states, and properties that define accessible user interface elements and can be used to improve the accessibility and interoperability of web content and applications. These semantics are designed to allow an author to properly convey user interface behaviors and structural information in document-level markup, to assistive technologies. This document is part of the WAI-ARIA suite described in the WAI-ARIA Overview.

Status of this Document

This section describes the status of this document at the time of its publication. Other documents may supersede this document. A list of current W3C publications and the latest revision of this technical report can be found in the W3C technical reports index at http://www.w3.org/TR/.

This is a Public Working Draft by the Protocols & Formats Working Group of the Web Accessibility Initiative. This version incorporates changes in response to public comments received on the previous version. A history of changes to WAI-ARIA is available.

WAI-ARIA was previously published as a Last Call Working Draft. Due to substantial changes in response to these comments, PFWG decided to return to Working Draft stage to collect feedback on these changes. Refer to the summary of actions made in response to comments. The PFWG expects to publish another Last Call Working Draft in the first quarter of 2010.

Feedback on the model set out here is important to the success of the Web community in creating accessible Rich Internet Applications. The PFWG would like to know:

When addressing these questions, please consider them in the context of the companion documents. Follow the instructions for commenting page to submit comments. Submit comments online (preferred) or by email to to public-pfwg-comments@w3.org (Archive). Comments should be made by 2 February 2010. In-progress updates to the document may be viewed in the publicly visible editors' draft.

Publication as a Working Draft does not imply endorsement by the W3C Membership. This is a draft document and may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to cite this document as other than work in progress.

This document was produced by a group operating under the 5 February 2004 W3C Patent Policy. W3C maintains a public list of any patent disclosures made in connection with the deliverables of the group; that page also includes instructions for disclosing a patent. An individual who has actual knowledge of a patent which the individual believes contains Essential Claim(s) must disclose the information in accordance with section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy.

The disclosure obligations of the Participants of this group are described in the charter.

Table of Contents

  1. 1. Introduction
    1. 1.1. Rich Internet Application Accessibility
    2. 1.2. Target Audience
    3. 1.3. User Agent Support
    4. 1.4. Co-Evolution of WAI-ARIA and Host Languages
    5. 1.5. Authoring Practices
      1. 1.5.1. Authoring Tools
      2. 1.5.2. Testing Practices and Tools
    6. 1.6. Assistive Technologies
  2. 2. Using WAI-ARIA
    1. 2.1. WAI-ARIA Roles
    2. 2.2. WAI-ARIA States and Properties
    3. 2.3. Managing Focus
  3. 3. Normative Requirements for WAI-ARIA
  4. 4. Important Terms
  5. 5. The Roles Model
    1. 5.1. Relationships Between Concepts
      1. 5.1.1. Superclass Role
      2. 5.1.2. Subclass Roles
      3. 5.1.3. Related Concepts
      4. 5.1.4. Base Concept
    2. 5.2. Characteristics of Roles
      1. 5.2.1. Abstract Roles
      2. 5.2.2. Required States and Properties
      3. 5.2.3. Supported States and Properties
      4. 5.2.4. Inherited States and Properties
      5. 5.2.5. Required Owned Elements
      6. 5.2.6. Required Context Role
      7. 5.2.7. Accessible Name Calculation
      8. 5.2.8. Presentational Children
    3. 5.3. Categorization of Roles
      1. 5.3.1. Abstract Roles
      2. 5.3.2. Widget Roles
      3. 5.3.3. Document Structure
      4. 5.3.4. Landmark Roles
    4. 5.4. Definition of Roles
  6. 6. Supported States and Properties
    1. 6.1. Clarification of States versus Properties
    2. 6.2. Characteristics of States and Properties
      1. 6.2.1. Related Concepts
      2. 6.2.2. Used in Roles
      3. 6.2.3. Inherits into Roles
      4. 6.2.4. Value
    3. 6.3. Values for States and Properties
    4. 6.4. Global States and Properties
    5. 6.5. Taxonomy of WAI-ARIA States and Properties
      1. 6.5.1. Widget Attributes
      2. 6.5.2. Live Region Attributes
      3. 6.5.3. Drag-and-Drop Attributes
      4. 6.5.4. Relationship Attributes
    6. 6.6. Definitions of States and Properties (all aria-* attributes)
  7. 7. Implementation in Host Languages
    1. 7.1. Role Attribute
    2. 7.2. State and Property Attributes
    3. 7.3. Focus Navigation
    4. 7.4. Implicit WAI-ARIA Semantics
    5. 7.5. Conflicts with Host Language Semantics
    6. 7.6. State and Property Attribute Processing
  8. 8. Conformance
    1. 8.1. Non-interference with the Host Language
    2. 8.2. All WAI-ARIA in DOM
    3. 8.3. Web Application Notification of DOM Changes
    4. 8.4. Conformance Checkers
  9. 9. References
    1. 9.1. Normative References
    2. 9.2. Informative References
  10. 10. Appendices
    1. 10.1. Schemata
      1. 10.1.1. Roles Implementation
      2. 10.1.2. WAI-ARIA Attributes Module
      3. 10.1.3. XHTML plus WAI-ARIA DTD
      4. 10.1.4. SGML Open Catalog Entry for XHTML+ARIA
      5. 10.1.5. WAI-ARIA Attributes XML Schema Module
      6. 10.1.6. HTML 4.01 plus WAI-ARIA DTD
    2. 10.2. Mapping ARIA Value types to languages
    3. 10.3. WAI-ARIA Role, State, and Property Quick Reference
    4. 10.4. Acknowledgments
      1. 10.4.1. Participants in the PFWG at the time of publication
      2. 10.4.2. Other previously active PFWG participants and other contributors to the Accessible Rich Internet Applications specification
      3. 10.4.3. Enabling funders