Making web widgets accessible

Jul 01, 2009 9:30 PM  By

To Provide Rich Interaction Within a Small Footprint, Web widgets are Frequently Driven By Ajax, the coding language that makes the advanced, highly responsive interface controls of Web 2.0 possible. This code structure was daunting for assistive readers used by individuals with disabilities. But the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) — an international organization where member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards — recently published a new HTML standard designed to make rich Internet applications accessible.

WAI-ARIA, the new rich Internet applications standard, makes it possible for developers to add attributes to their code that identifies which Ajax features are on the screen, their relationship to one another, and the state they are in. All of this makes it possible for assistive devices to read the page and provide the user with comprehensible information and decision points.

Conformance to the ARIA standard is an important step in maintaining ADA compliance for any online property that deploys Ajax — whether it’s a core domain or a Web widget. You can find more information at: http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/aria.