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WAI-ARIA

WAI-ARIA is a World Wide Web Consortium specification that is designed to be a framework for web developers to use in developing applications that leverage Ajax, scripting and other rich application techniques. The framework specifies a series of steps that developers can use in their own applications to make them more accessible to assistive technologies such as screen readers.

Overview

WAI-ARIA was created to bridge the gap between rich applications and disabled users by introducing additional metadata (through HTML element attributes) that screen readers can use to reason about a control or DOM element. These attributes, like role, aria-haspopup, aria-selected and others provide vital information to screen readers, which can then be used to provide a richer level of interaction with your site for disabled visitors.

Built-In Support

ARIA is especially important for applications that heavily rely upon scripted widgets, Ajax and partial page updates to deliver user experience. Because we know that Kendo UI is often used in these types of applications, we thought it best to provide full ARIA support to all Kendo UI widgets out of the box.

The beautiful thing is that we did all this heavy lifting for you, making Kendo UI the first HTML5 framework to provide full ARIA support for its web widgets. We closely followed the W3C Widget Design Patterns in the WAI-ARIA specification, and will automatically add the necessary role value and additional attributes, based on the widget in question. There is nothing more you need to do to take advantage of these features other than to just use the widgets as you do today.

For example, let us take a look at the NumericTextBox widget. Start with a numeric input:

<input id="amountOwed" type="number" value="17" min="0" max="100" step="1" />

Now, wire this up as a kendoNumericTextBox:

$("#numeric").kendoNumericTextBox();

If you view this control in the browser, and inspect it using the developer tools, you will see the following:

<input id="numeric" type="text" value="17" min="0" max="100" step="1" data-role="numerictextbox" class="k-input" role="spinbutton" style="display: none;" tabindex="0" aria-valuemin="0" aria-valuemax="100" aria-valuenow="17">

The role, aria-valuemin,aria-valuemax and aria-valuenow properties are all outlined in the W3C Design Patterns document for WAI-ARIA, so Kendo UI automatically adds them for you. The impact on you as a developer is transparent, while the benefit to assistive technologies is huge, as screen readers can use this extra information to improve the experience a disabled user would have with your applications.

See Also

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