[Athen] ARIA modal dialogs only read out focusable items (forms and links)

Humbert, Joseph A johumber at iupui.edu
Fri Jan 4 08:06:34 PST 2013

Hi All,

This issue has been brought up in multiple projects I have been involved with, ARIA modal dialogs only read out focusable items (form controls and links) while ignoring plain text (e.g., instructions) when using some AT software. You can view an example for testing at http://jqueryui.com/resources/demos/dialog/modal.html. I have tested with JAWS 13, latest version of NVDA, and Voiceover (mac OSX) on IE, Firefox and Safari. I can reproduce the issue with JAWS 13 and NVDA on Firefox and IE. Voiceover seems to work ok.

We have found non-elegant ways around the issue, but it would be nice not to have to use hacks.

I believe this issue stems from the ARIA authoring practices modal dialog (http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria-practices/#dialog_modal) keyboard interaction description which appears to only cover dealing with focusable items. So AT manufactures may have coded there products to follow the ARIA authoring practices.

What are people's opinions about suggesting modifications to the authoring practices to address keyboard interaction with plain text? Are there elegant cross-browser and cross-AT solutions? Thankx.

Joe Humbert, Adaptive Technology and Accessibility Specialist
UITS Adaptive Technology and Accessibility Centers
Indiana University, Indianapolis and Bloomington
535 W Michigan St. IT214 E
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Office Phone: (317) 274-4378
Cell Phone: (317) 644-6824
johumber at iupui.edu<mailto:johumber at iupui.edu>

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