Sometime new technology suffers from a chicken and egg problem. For example, if no websites start using WAI-ARIA there will be few incentives for manufacturers of assistive technology or browsers to include support in their products.
At the European Accessibility Forum in Frankfurt (eminently organised by Namics) I met Steve Faulkner who has done a lot of research on WAI-ARIA (see Using WAI ARIA Landmark Roles). Although the specification isn’t finalized yet there are many advantages to WAI-ARIA and browser support is increasing.
With the help of Steve, I submitted a minor patch for the default WordPress theme that adds ARIA landmark roles. I believe that a simple thing like this would make the web a better place for a lot of people as well as making web development easier.
How to add WAI-ARIA landmark roles
For an overview of methods to work with landmark roles in existing HTML see Patterns for WAI-ARIA landmark roles in existing HTML.
How to check WAI-ARIA landmark roles
If you want to start working on implementing landmark roles in a theme, check out Juicy Studio’s Web Accessibility Toolbar Extension for Firefox or the YAML debug tool bookmarklet. These will aid you in checking that the markup you add is correct.
Adopt your favorite CMS
What other content management systems would you like to see support WAI-ARIA landmark roles? If more people could help to create patches adoption would increase rapidly.
Add your suggestions below (or better, create a patch and send to the developers).
Content management systems
- WordPress (patch accepted for WordPress 2.8)
- Joomla (patch accepted for Joomla 1.6)
- Drupal (patch submitted by Mike Gifford)
- Dotclear (patch submitted in ticket 728)
- Plone (ticket 9298 submitted by Christophe Strobbe)
- MediaWiki (patch submitted)
- Dokuwiki (patch submitted)
- Dekiwiki (may need some accessibility love in other areas too)
- PmWiki (patch submitted)