Chapter 2: WAI ARIA Roles

WAI ARIA Roles define the type of an element. The element type will be available for free if content authors use native markup elements. In certain cases the native markup will not provide the required role of the element e.g. a <div> element just provides a container. It does not accurately define if it the <div> is a header container, footer container or a complimentary section. In such cases WAI ARIA roles add the required additional information. <div role=”banner”>, <div role=”complimentary”> etc. The same semantics can be provided even with HTML5 markup i.e. <header>, <aside>.
So the first rule of ARIA is “Don’t use ARIA”.

Types of WAI ARIA Roles

  • If the widget is a menu, treeitem, slider etc. These type of roles are Widget roles.
    • support the WAI-ARIA role taxonomy to separate general role types called as abstract roles. Abstract roles should not be used by content authors.
  • Roles used to provide structural meaning to the elements on the page such as headings, tables, lists etc. These are called document Structure roles.

Some roles define the regions of the page e.g. banner, main, navigation etc. These types of roles are Landmark roles.