Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.0

W3C Candidate Recommendation 18 January 2011

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 to assistive technologies in document-level markup. 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 Candidate Recommendation of WAI-ARIA 1.0 by the Protocols & Formats Working Group of the Web Accessibility Initiative. This version incorporates changes in response to public comments received on the 16 September 2010 Last Call Working Draft. The Protocols and Formats Working Group received 6 comments on that version. Refer to the Issue Disposition Report for details. A history of changes to WAI-ARIA is available.

Exit Criteria

The Protocols and Formats Working Group intends to submit this document for consideration as a W3C Proposed Recommendation as soon as the following conditions are met:

  1. Define test cases: Identify a set of unit tests, feature tests, dynamic tests, and any additional tests needed to cover all ARIA normative requirements;
  2. Prepare test files: Prepare test files consisting of HTML 4 content enhanced with WAI-ARIA, to cover all the test cases;
  3. Test implementations: Perform these tests on multiple separate combinations of user agent plus operating system plus accessibility API;
  4. Evaluate test results: Examine results in accessibility APIs as defined by the WAI-ARIA User Agent Implementation Guide;
  5. Verify interoperable results: Find at least two implementations of each normative requirement where the defined behavior for the respective accessibility API is observed.

Note that the goal is to find two implementations of each WAI-ARIA feature using any of the accessibility APIs referenced in the WAI-ARIA User Agent Implementation Guide, not to find two implementations on each accessibility API defined in the guide. The two required passing examples for different tests may be found on different implementations.

The WAI-ARIA 1.0 Implementations page contains further explanation of the terms and expectations above. It also contains up-to-date information about the test suite, test harness, user agents being examined, and interim test results in the draft implementation report. Implementers who wish to include their tools in the test process will find instructions to submit their implementation for consideration. The Protocols and Formats Working Group requests that initial implementations be submitted by 25 February 2011. The Working Group targets 1 July 2011 to complete the testing process and produce the implementation report.

Features at risk

The Protocols and Formats Working Group has identified one feature at risk:

  1. The Text Alternative Computation (Section, step 2B, may be changed from a normative requirement to an informative recommendation if interoperable implementations are not found. This does not affect the rest of the Text Alternative Computation.


The Protocols and Formats Working Group primarily seeks feedback relation to implementation of WAI-ARIA, but feedback on any aspect of the specification is accepted. When submitting feedback, please consider issues in the context of the companion documents. Start with the instructions for commenting page to submit comments (preferred), or send email to public-pfwg-comments@w3.org (comment archive). Comments are requested by 25 February 2011 but will be accepted throughout the Candidate Recommendation period. In-progress updates to the document may be viewed in the publicly visible editors' draft.

Publication Information

Publication as a Candidate Recommendation 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. Assistive Technology Notifications Communicated to Web Applications
    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 WAI-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