Mastering Web Accessibility with ARIA

Mastering Web Accessibility with ARIA


Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) is a set of attributes designed to enhance the accessibility of web applications, particularly for users with disabilities. ARIA provides a means to convey important information about the structure and behavior of your application to assistive technologies, such as screen readers. In this article, we will explore some essential ARIA techniques and tools to help you create more accessible web applications.

ARIA Roles

ARIA roles define the type of element or widget that is being used in your application. By assigning roles to elements, you can provide more context to assistive technologies. Some common ARIA roles include:

  • `button`: A button element that performs an action when activated.
  • `navigation`: A container for a collection of navigation links.
  • `progressbar`: An element that represents the progress of a task.
  • `search`: A search input element.
  1. <nav aria-label="Main Navigation" role="navigation">
  2. <ul>
  3. <li><a href="/">Home</a></li>
  4. <li><a href="/about">About</a></li>
  5. <li><a href="/contact">Contact</a></li>
  6. </ul>
  7. </nav>

ARIA Properties

ARIA properties provide additional information about an element's state or attributes. Some common ARIA properties include:

  • `aria-describedby`: Associates an element with a description, often used for tooltips or additional instructions.
  • `aria-expanded`: Indicates whether a collapsible element is currently expanded or collapsed.
  • `aria-hidden`: Indicates that an element is hidden and should not be exposed to assistive technologies.

aria-labelledby: Associates an element with a label.

Here's an example of using ARIA properties in your HTML:

  1. <button aria-expanded="false" aria-controls="collapseExample">
  2. Toggle Content
  3. </button>
  4. <div id="collapseExample" aria-hidden="true">
  5. <!-- Collapsible content -->
  6. </div>

ARIA Live Regions

ARIA live regions allow you to inform assistive technologies about updates to your application's content without requiring the user to interact with the application. This can be particularly useful for updating users about the status of long-running tasks or displaying dynamic content. Some common ARIA live region attributes include:

  • `aria-live`: Indicates that an element should be treated as a live region.
  • `aria-atomic`: Indicates whether the entire region should be updated or only the changed parts.
  • `aria-relevant`: Describes the types of updates that should be announced by assistive technologies.

Here's an example of using ARIA live regions in your HTML:

  1. <div
  2. aria-live="polite"
  3. aria-atomic="true"
  4. aria-relevant="additions text"
  5. role="status"
  6. >
  7. <!-- Dynamic content will be added here -->
  8. </div>

ARIA Tools and Resources

Several tools and resources can help you improve your web application's accessibility using ARIA:

  1. WAI-ARIA Authoring Practices: A comprehensive guide to using ARIA, including design patterns and best practices.
  2. A11y Project: A community-driven resource for web accessibility best practices, including a checklist and examples.
  3. axe: A popular accessibility testing tool that helps identify and resolve accessibility issues in your web application.
  4. WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool: A free online tool to evaluate the accessibility of your web pages and provide suggestions for improvements.


Improving the accessibility of your web applications is crucial in creating an inclusive user experience for all. ARIA provides a powerful set of attributes that help you convey essential information about your application's structure and behavior to assistive technologies.

By understanding ARIA roles, properties, and live regions, and leveraging the available tools and resources, you can create more accessible web applications and contribute to a more inclusive web.

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