ISSUE-1028: Separator is a structure but the description says it can be interactive


Separator is a structure but the description says it can be interactive

ARIA 1.1
Raised by:
Matthew King
Opened on:
The separator role is a structure. Screen readers render elements with role separator in the same way that the HTML HR element is rendered. Thus, screen readers regard separators as static, not interactive.

Yet, the description of the separator role says that a separator may be a movable splitter that divides parts of a window. So, the APG Window splitter pattern states that the separator role should be used for an interactive window splitter.

Obviously, If you make a focusable, interactive window splitter and give it the separator role, it will not be operable with screen readers because they will not recognize a separator as interactive and neding to consume keys like arrows, home, and end.

The superclass of separator can not be change to be a widget without breaking its ability to serve as an equivalent to HR. the widget role can not be added as a second superclass because there would not be a way for assistive technologies to discern if the element is a separator or a splitter.

1. Remove language about interaction from the separator role.
2. Add a splitter role that is a widget.
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After discussion at May 19 meeting, revising the proposal. At this late stage in the ARIA 1.1 process, there is no appetite for a new splitter role. Instead, a workable solution seems to be to clarify the text of the separator role to make it a structure if it is not focusable and a widget if it is focusable.

Matthew King, 22 May 2016, 05:08:19

The one associated action is completed and now closed. Setting the State of this issue to CLOSED.

Joanmarie Diggs, 24 Jun 2016, 18:15:37

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