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WAI ARIA Last Call, and Safari 4

By Derek Featherstone | February 24th, 2009 | Filed in Accessibility, Browsers, Emerging Technology, W3C/Standards Documentation

The W3C’s WAI ARIA moves to Last Call Working Draft; appropriately, the Safari 4 Beta is out, featuring improved ARIA support.

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In December 2008 we saw the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 become an official World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Recommendation. However, the wheels of accessibility must roll on! Other areas that have significant accessibility implications are also moving forward with the W3C.

Today the Protocols and Formats Working Group of the W3C has announced the Last Call Working Draft for ARIA. This means that the working group believes that this specification is ready to advance to the next stage. We’ll leave the specifics of the W3C Process to the W3C. What you need to know is that you have until March 24, 2009 to provide feedback to the W3C on the working draft.

Accessibility Task Force member James Craig was involved as part of the Protocols and Formats Working Group that has been working on ARIA; many thanks to James for all of his work on this!

Our own Henny Swan (International Liaison Group Co-lead) has put together some questions about the ARIA spec to get you kick started.

Also of note — commentary and criticisms of Safari 4 Beta abound. Did you take a look at the top of the Safari 4 new features list?

Yes, that’s right. Accessibility, including ARIA.

This isn’t something that is years off. This is something that is happening right now, before your eyes and it is important work for the future of creating accessible web applications, so dig in and have a read and provide feedback — even the small things count!

Your Replies

#1 On February 24th, 2009 3:35 pm trovster replied:

Matt Machell presented a “WAI-ARIA Intro” at the first Multipack Presents event we held in Birmingham on Saturday.

In the following discussion, Stuart Langridge -another speaker at the event- discussed an ARIA stylesheet, which he argued would help add ARIA support to existing sites with little effort. He has placed a working concept of an ARIA stylesheet on his blog.

#2 On February 25th, 2009 3:40 am WaSP Member Henny Swan replied:

Hi Derek, thanks for signposting to the questions…the more constructive feedback the group gets the better. Just one thing though, the questions are actually from Micheal Cooper over at W3C which he said I could share with folk as a bit of a guideline.

That said, congrats to the group, having WAI-ARIA complete and out there is going to be a massive step forward.


#3 On February 25th, 2009 4:02 am Aaron Leventhal replied:

This is all so new, I’m still concerned that authors will go straight to the specs and get turned off from understanding the basics. The Best Practices Guide isn’t a bad place to start though. But, I think we need to good job of advertising all the ARIA resources out there! For example, there is the website which points to lots of other resources, and has test cases to play with.

There is also the free-aria mailing list on Google Groups!

#4 On February 25th, 2009 11:02 am Lars Gunther replied:

I don’t twitter, so I’ll post it here. Safari 4 still does not render this SVG correctly:

It is explained at

The bug is still open.

#5 On February 25th, 2009 11:05 am Lars Gunther replied:

Oh yes, one more thing. Safari 4 does not work with my trackpoint. Bummer! That is a deal breaker in usability. I do appreciate that it has got a native Windows look, though.

#6 On February 25th, 2009 6:30 pm Jose replied:

Sadly, there are a lot of lies on the Safari 4 new features list about being the first browser which includes some different things that clearly other browsers included before…

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