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WAI-ARIA Support and Screen Readers

WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative - Accessible Rich Internet Applications) is a World Wide Web Consortium specification. It explains how to increase the accessibility of the web pages to help people with disabilities navigate the Internet.

WAI-ARIA represents a series of HTML attributes that screen readers can use. Attributes like "role", "area-expanded", "area-haspopup" and others provide information to the readers and help people with disabilities interact with dynamic content on the page.

Some controls from the Telerik® UI for ASP.NET AJAX suite have support for WAI-ARIA and can, therefore, render such attributes that screen readers can interpret. This help article lists the controls and shows the common way of enabling these attributes.

In order to use WAI-ARIA the form element on the page must have a role attribute set to "application" (<form id="form1" runat="server" role="application">). For more information on this requirement see: W3C: WAI-ARIA

The following controls offer WAI-ARIA support:

To enable WAI-ARIA support, you need to set the EnableAriaSupport property of the control to true. WAI-ARIA is enabled by default only for RadGantt. As the WAI-ARIA support cannot be disabled for this control, it does not expose EnableAriaSupport property.

Note that the WAI-ARIA attributes are not part of the HTML specifications and a page whose markup contains them would not validate and the browser would enter quirks mode. To avoid this, the Telerik controls render the WAI-ARIA attributes with JavaScript. Thus, you need to examine the source code of the rendered page in the developer toolbar of the browser in order to see them because they will not be present in the markup sent from the server.

A screen reader commonly used with is JAWS (JAWS official site) and the Telerik controls are tested with it.

WAI-ARIA support for the Window and Tooltip controls can be expected to work with JAWS when the controls' Lightweight RenderMode is used. With it, they render with semantic HTML elements. Both the Window and Tooltip controls render their popup elements with JavaScript. Thus, it is up to the screen reader software to detect this change in the DOM and read them out.

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