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HTML5 Browser Accessibility Comparison

· Web Dev Zone

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As the web becomes more and more interactive, developing for accessibility becomes more and more complex.

In the past, web developers had to worry relatively little about accessibility: when markup did little more than tell the browser how to format text, the browser could decide whether to format for the screen, or a reader, or whatever.

Now that webpages include much more than raw markup -- and as so-called 'HTML5' itself includes more and more JavaScript APIs -- the standards' preference for normally-sighted users has become more and more pronounced.

ARIA, the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite, is designed to help web developers make Web 2.0-type interactivity more accessible to everyone. The W3C describes ARIA this way:

WAI-ARIA, the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite, defines a way to make Web content and Web applications more accessible to people with disabilities. It especially helps with dynamic content and advanced user interface controls developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript, and related technologies.


ARIA reached full Candidate Recommendation status last January, so it's already being implemented.

Besides differing browser implementations, a multiplicity of screen readers adds another ingredient to the already-a-bit-complicated mix. The same screen reader may respond differently in different browsers, for example.  

To increase your awareness of HTML5 accessibility support in modern browsers, using particular screen readers, Jason Kiss recently posted this helpful series of videos, showing various screen readers working with HTML5 sections and ARIA landmarks, in various browsers.

Should be quite useful for HTML5 developers coding for accessibility. Videos are only about 30 seconds each.

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