Last week in the “Accessible” module, April 20, 2009

After the Easter holidays, pace has picked up again in the development of accessibility features and other work surrounding our eco system.

Actions for sorting and expansion/collapsing

After some minor setbacks, David’s patch on exposing actions for ARIA sort and expand/collapse attributes finally landed today. This means that:

  • An element that has aria-sort set, will expose an action of “sort” to assistive technologies.
  • An element that has aria-expanded set to “true” will expose an action of “collapse”, one that has aria-expanded set to “false” will expose an action of “expand”.

These can be used to exactly determine what action will be performed once it is being performed.

Exposure of the HTML5 audio and video element controls

Alexander’s patch to expose the embedded controls of the HTML 5 video and audio elements has landed on mozilla-central. With NVDA, one can now see the grouping where the controls are, and invoke the action on each of the buttons. One can even switch to focus mode on the sliders and use the arrow keys to manipulate them. Note: Due toa different approach in reading our information, JAWS does not yet expose these controls despite this patch. Other screen readers are pending tests.

There are a few problems still which will be addressed soonish: For one, the buttons don’t have text labels yet, and the slider percentage values reflect times rather than actual percentages, so we need to see how we’re going to expose this properly.

In other news

The team, along with a number of community members, has worked on a new high-level accessibility strategy document. Frank Hecker has a blog post explaining this in greater detail.

Spreading the good work of ARIA to mainstream open-source CMS

Peter Krantz, accessibility expert from Sweden, has started an effort to contribute WAI-ARIA landmark roles to mainstream open-source content management systems. If you know one of the CMS that don’t have patches yet, feel free to jump in!

That’s it for this week, see you next week for a new edition!


2 thoughts on “Last week in the “Accessible” module, April 20, 2009

  1. Is it possible to add Landmarks markers to Firefox scrollbar or somewhere on the screen? I am JAWS user but this allows sighted users to navigate on the page more quickly and webmaster’s understand landmarks role better. And If webmaster’s understand landmarks role better, then they use landmarks more often.
    For example: if user scrolls a long document and page navigation menu (marked with aria menu role) disappears from screen, then menu button/marker appears on the scrollbar. And if user clicks on it, then navigation menu appears on the screen. (quicker than usual scrolling)
    And how about outline view like in Microsoft Word? And automated generator table of contents|marked tables )| marked images ..?

  2. Hi Artur,

    right now, WAI-ARIA landmarks are a pure screen reader feature and not used by any UI elements in Firefox or other browsers as far as I know. However, this is a great idea, and I’ll definitely let our Firefox project manager know.

    Also, there is always the possibility that someone writes an extension to do exactly this. So if you know someone or have programming skills yourself, why not start hacking on this yourself?

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