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Jon introduces ARIA Roles, which help define areas of a document for a screen reader.

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Transcript from the "ARIA Roles" Lesson

[00:00:00]
>> Jon: Cool. So there's also ARIA Roles, and so basically what's going on, I think these are actually part of HTML more than they're part of the ARIA spec. But roles are kinda back to what we very first started on with a clue into some of the functionality or interactivity of a thing, what this thing does.

[00:00:19] So a common thread with accessibility which I think Jack mentioned in the beginning. People call it div soup, but Ilike the idea of a lot of us learn HTML and divs make a really nice display block generic element so we use it for absolutely everything. But even if you're gonna continue using it, you can use a lot of these roles to describe like, this thing is like a navigation item, or this thing is a section, or this thing is, so there's a list of them.

[00:00:46] List items, list document groupings, all these different things you can do. And they're kinda nice to experiment with has you're listening to the screen or either read your page, and then you add some functionality to it. And it'll sound a lot nicer. Again, so a lot of times now what used to be done with roles can now be done with native HTML5 elements.

[00:01:05] But the roles still exist, and even though it seems a little bit redundant, sometimes it's nice to do both to have a fall back for older browsers. So, the cool thing with HTML5 elements is that they degrade really nicely. So if you have a browser that knows what an article is, great.

[00:01:23] Otherwise it'll just degrade into a div. So even though it seems redundant for a newer browser to have article role article. It's nice because an older browser will just turn it into div role article, so you still have all that context for screen readers. And that becomes less and less of a problem as the browsers evolve, because HTML5 is pretty well supported now but just something to keep in mind.

[00:01:43]
>> Speaker 2: The other concern is not just the browsers but there are different types of assistive technology that many of those users are slow to upgrade, either because it's costly or even the manufacturers are slow to upgrade that hardware or software. And so that's another instance where it becomes important to add that role.

[00:02:01]
>> Jon: Yeah, so like even if Jaws maybe supports all these nice HTML5 things, there are a lot of people on very older versions of it. Which this would still be a nice edition to have. Yeah, I always recommend doing it Yeah. I do find a lot for whatever the reason, it's lot of people using s system technology, are slower to update then, than people not using a sys technology.

[00:02:24] I have to imagine a lot of this, it's difficulty updating as well, like getting a brand-new version of everything when you do't have, we only makes every single task that much more difficult. But I do think probably cost is a big part of it, especially with some of the more expensive pieces.

[00:02:39] So yeah, I would always recommend doing both the HTML5 element and the role.