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ARIA explained

Welcome to the masterclass: ARIA explained. What is ARIA? How do you use it and how do you not use it in web development? Let us demystify ARIA for you, explain how ARIA works and how to use it properly.

Officially, ARIA is called WAI ARIA, and first of all: what does that abbreviation mean? 

WAI (pronounced like way) stands for Web Accessibility Initiative, a working group of the Word Wide Web Consortium, the W3C. This working group also wrote the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. They are all about accessibility.

ARIA stands for Accessible Rich Internet Applications. And what does that mean?

ARIA defines a way to make web content and web applications more accessible to people with disabilities.

We prefer to replace “people with disabilities” with “people who use assistive technology”.  For example: a screen reader, or voice recognition software. It is not only disabled people who use those technologies. The web should work for everyone.

It’s all about feedback: 

  • what happens on a page;
  • what does that mean;
  • how do I interact?

In this course you will learn what ARIA is and how it works in practice. We are going to look at the accessibility tree, the API between browser and assistive technology. We will address roles, names, states, properties and values. And look at components, libraries and resources.

In the lessons you are going to listen to code. Is it clear what’s happening? What is changing? How do you give proper feedback if you cannot see the screen?

We created GitHub pages for you, not only for demonstration purposes, but also for you to practise on. 

Please read the accompanying texts below the video. Here you will find the links to the GitHub pages and the resources. It is also good to work on the tests and assignments as you can then practise what you’ve learned right away.

Your trainer is Rian Rietveld, web accessibility specialist at the digital agency Level Level and trainer here at The A11Y Collective.

Let’s get started with ARIA.

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