Making dynamic web content accessible is a huge challenge.
WAI-ARIA is the best available solution today. It’s supported in all major browsers and enables almost any dynamic content to be made accessible — that’s great. Accessibility is really important. But man oh man, understanding WAI-ARIA is not easy for developers, who aren’t always born as accessibility experts.
Here are some of the challenges developers face with WAI-ARIA:
- Implementations are different across browsers and screen readers.
- It’s hard to find up-to-date documentation and examples.
- It’s not clear if the markup is correct. Even if it validates with validator.nu, that doesn’t mean it will actually be accessible.
- Learning what actually works where is near impossible. It requires combing through out-of-date blogs and doing your own testing. There are too many tricky combinations to deal with.
Scary! If I were new to accessibility … let’s not go there. But, the answer is not to give up. The web is dynamic, and accessibility is important. The answer is definitely not to create a plain version just for users with disabilities. That’s just bad.
Web developers need an ARIA developer portal. And, I’m asking for contributors. The web development community has to solve this information vacuum for itself.
And if you have WAI-ARIA expertise, hear my over-the-top plea. Put some of your blog and Twitter energy into a living document! Everything else ages too fast. Just update one article or example. It will pay back many times.
Take a look! And register for an account on MDN :)