Best Practices

The best practices in this section are based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) and Accessible Rich Internet Applications (W A I-ARIA 1.0) standards published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

This resource focuses on the Level A success criteria for WCAG 2.0 because Level A is easily achievable and also ensures accessibility for most assistive technologies. However, web developers are strongly encouraged to explore and incorporate Level Double-A success criteria where possible, within the time and budget constraints of a project, because Double-A success criteria further ensure that the assistive tech user will have a comparable user experience to able-bodied users, which is the aim of web accessibility. View more information about meeting WCAG 2.0 Double-A »

Certain third-party vendors have not yet adopted WCAG 2.0. In such cases, you should verify instances of such interfaces using the W3C WCAG 1.0 Checklist or the Federal Section 508 checklist, depending on the vendor’s stated compliance criteria.

The Web Accessibility Initiative’s ARIA Spec

Even though ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) is still taking shape as a specification, document landmark roles are so simple to implement and are such a benefit to screen reader users, there is no good reason to postpone implementing them.

The ARIA document landmark role attribute is used in div (or other) html tags to specify regions of a web page. Example: <div role="navigation">. Available roles include: article, banner, complementary, contentinfo, main, navigation, and search.

Presently, the W3C validator will flag the role attribute, but this “error” is a minor inconvenience and will not interfere with the functionality of the page. One solution to this problem is to call an external javascript file that will insert the role attribute, rather than write it into the markup, thereby avoiding the validation error.

For web pages using AJAX functionality, additional ARIA coding may be necessary in order for the web pages to be accessible. More information can be found about ARIA on the WebAIM and W3C websites.

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