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ARIA and the Intranet

Here at Invotra, accessibility is a huge part of what we do, and as such, we use the popular ARIA library to interface with all accessibility and screen reader technologies.

Web accessibility icons

WAI-ARIA stands for “Web Accessibility Initiative –  Accessible Rich Internet Applications” and it helps provide information into the accessibility tree, being especially useful in situations where there is dynamic content or information that isn’t available solely through native HTML.

This additional information comes in two forms which are roles and attributes.

These roles and attributes can be categorised as:

Roles

  • Widget Roles:

Something that you would add on a user interface widget to amend the accessible role.

  • Landmark Roles:

Signposts for your website to allow users to quickly jump to areas on the page.

  • Live region roles:

Identifies areas which will be dynamically updated without the need to refresh. The role lets assistive software know that the content is going to be updated automatically.

  • Document structure:

Describes structures that organise content on the page.

Attributes

  • Widget attributes:

Are used for widget patterns, usually coinciding with widget roles. They provide additional information through forms of states and properties.

  • Live region attributes:

Used to further define areas marked with a live region role.

  • Relationship attributes:

Defines relationships between elements that would not be otherwise possible from the document structure.

How does Invotra use ARIA for their intranet?

Invotra uses ARIA to improve the user experience in a number of ways, including:

  • Alert role on status messages after an action such as adding a comment successfully.
  • Making the dynamic notification count a live region to inform users when they have a new notification.
  • Programmatically determining names and roles for elements which cannot use native HTML due to design or technical limitations.
  • Identifying toggle buttons using the aria-pressed attribute to let users know when a button is active or not. We also amend the text to make it as clear as possible that a button has been activated.

ARIA roles screenshot

As a company, we go beyond just the standard and work with consultants from places such as the W3C to create a fully accessible user experience.

If you would like to learn more about Invotra and accessibility,  or if you would like to talk to our in-house Accessibility Product Manager, Andrew Doyle, come and talk to us.