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HTML5? Check. Accessible HTML5? Um…

By Aaron Gustafson | February 1st, 2011 | Filed in Accessibility, Browsers, HTML/XHTML, W3C/Standards Documentation, Web Standards (general)

The Paciello Group and others are examining the accessibility of HTML5 implementations across the current spate of browsers. Their findings are a little disheartening.

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In a recent blog post, Steve Faulkner of the Paciello Group began to examine how HTML5, which is supposed to help improve the accessibility of web sites and applications, is being exposed to assistive technologies. The current state of things, as documented on, leaves a considerable amount to be desired.

The current accessibility support implemented in browsers lags behind their implementations of the sexy new features themselves. These are still early days in the implementation of HTML5 features, so lets keep our fingers crossed that Google, Apple (Safari on Windows) and Opera will get their acts together to provide at least a basic level of HTML support in their browsers for assistive technology users. Equally it is hoped Mozilla, Apple (Safari on Mac) and Microsoft will strive to have their rate of accessibility support match their rapid implementation of the new HTML5 features.

To address the need for standardizing the implementation of accessibility features, Steve and others have begun working on the HTML to Platform Accessibility APIs Implementation Guide.

We can’t thank Steve enough for his work on this and wish him well as these efforts continue.

Your Replies

#1 On February 1st, 2011 5:02 pm Tweets that mention HTML5? Check. Accessible HTML5? Um… - The Web Standards Project -- replied:

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Matt May, Kimberly Blessing, sin3rss, Peter Winnberg, WebStandardsProject and others. WebStandardsProject said: HTML5? Check. Accessible HTML5? Um… [...]

#2 On February 1st, 2011 6:11 pm Ben Buchanan replied:

It’s disappointing that people are keen to work on bling, but not the full substance to back it up. Without accessibility the job’s only half done – here’s hoping the browsers follow through. I have faith that some of them will, at least.

(Also, typo: should be

#3 On February 1st, 2011 7:39 pm Alexsandro replied: don’t work, but that initiative of accessible check is really good, In the last years accessible is a big importance under web.

#4 On February 1st, 2011 8:16 pm mattur replied:


Don’t you mean “designed”?

#5 On February 1st, 2011 9:11 pm Tschet replied:

Thanks for the tip, I hadn’t heard of this yet. You have a typo in the URL of

#6 On February 1st, 2011 9:33 pm Keith Bowes replied:

That should be, no?

#7 On February 2nd, 2011 7:35 am WaSP Member agustafson replied:

Fixed the link (apologies).

#8 On February 4th, 2011 4:52 pm Ajeet replied:

Accessibility is an absolute must. I attended a talk by an IBM engineer who is blind recently. But I do not see HTML 5 doing enough.

#9 On February 19th, 2011 2:06 pm Stacy Jackson replied:

Looking forward to learning more on this subject and agree that the browsers must provide a framework and show a willingness to implement accessibility features.

#10 On February 20th, 2011 1:47 pm Ajeet replied:

In Internet speed, it is no longer early days for HTML 5. Has there been any perceptible update on the accessibility issue?

#11 On February 22nd, 2011 9:55 am Daniel S. replied:

Hopefully mobile browsers will catch up with the features fast…

#12 On February 22nd, 2011 12:34 pm Jessica replied:

I agree with Accessibility, we are currently reworking our webproject in order to make it useable for disabled people. For this we are getting deeper into HTML5. So far the improvements from the earlier versions are quite good and will help our users to use the site better.

#13 On February 24th, 2011 6:05 pm Stefan replied:

Great work thanks for the link and thanks Steve.

#14 On March 5th, 2011 5:58 pm Ajeet replied:

My earlier comment (#9) is being held in moderation since Feb 20th? Has moderation seized, though accepting comments has not?

#15 On March 8th, 2011 6:52 am Alastair replied:

The table on the link showing tables and supported browsers is certainly disappointing. Surely, browser companies need to take notice of such developments and get the technology integrated.

I’d further suggest that many countries have now introduced legislation at statute concerning accessibility of websites. This is not something people can ignore any more.

#16 On March 15th, 2011 2:51 pm naturkosmetik replied:

Hi Steve. Thanks a lot! Ok, these are still early days in the implementation of HTML5 features but your Implementation Guide helps to live with that fact.

#17 On April 16th, 2011 9:55 am Michael replied:

Just today i changed to the new Firefox version. Cant wait to see more html5 improvements in the browser sector. What browser has the best html5 implementation so far?

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