DPUB-ARIA 1.0 is Released as a Candidate Recommendation

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We are excited to announce that a joint task force of the ARIA Working Group and the Digital Publishing Interest Group (DPUB IG) has published a Candidate Recommendation of Digital Publishing WAI-ARIA Module 1.0 (DPUB-ARIA 1.0). This module represents the collaboration of experts in both accessibility and publishing, and the vocabulary it contains represents their efforts to bring digital publishing structures to the web in a broadly accessible way. This is the first extension of the ARIA roles vocabulary.

What DPUB-ARIA Provides

DPUB-ARIA 1.0 defines structural semantics, which provides authors and publishers a method of conveying intent and specific meaning to HTML tagging. A digital publishing structural semantics vocabulary defines a set of properties or behaviors relating to specific elements of a publication. This can improve general user experience as well as accessibility to users with disabilities. For example, publications often feature glossaries, which are typically marked up as a definition list using the dl element. However, a document may contain many definition lists, only one of which is the glossary. Adding role="doc-glossary" to the appropriate list conveys machine-readable and human-readable information about the type of list. A corresponding Digital Publishing Accessibility API Mapping (DPUB-AAM) has been released as a first public working draft and will become a candidate recommendation in the coming weeks.


The roles listed in DPUB-ARIA 1.0 originated with the EPUB 3 Structural Semantics Vocabulary, a vocabulary for adding inflection to HTML, managed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), the authors of the EPUB specification. The IDPF drew its original list of terms from the DAISY Consortium, the originators of the Digital Talking Book format. During the decades that the DAISY Consortium has maintained its standard, much has been learned about how to develop semantically rich content that can be easily read and navigated by anyone with a print disability. This work has influenced and been influenced by the broader work of the digital publishing community and informed the development of the accessible EPUB 3 format.

Contributing to DPUB-ARIA

We are beginning testing on implementations. If you’re interested in contributing to the testing of this module, please contact Shane McCarron. If you are interested in participating in this and similar work, consider joining the DPUB Interest Group or the ARIA Working Group. To provide feedback, please submit issues by 27 January 2017 to https://github.com/w3c/aria/issues. If you prefer email, contact public-dpub-aria-comments@w3.org.

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