Chris Ashton

dai11y 12/01/2023

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Do we need an Interop for assistive technologies?

Hidde de Vries writes about Interop 2022: a collaborative initiative shared by the major browser vendors to solve the 15 top browser compatibility issues. These include areas like cascade layers, CSS color spaces, scrolling behaviour, and so on.

Hidde would like to see an equivalent of this but focussed on accessibility. He asked on Twitter what the top bugs in assistive technology are. Responses included: display properties (still) break default semantics, the HTML video player has accessibility issues in various browsers, aria-controls is not properly supported by screenreaders, the expanded state of details/summary is not communicated to users of screenreaders in Firefox if the arrow is hidden, and aria-owns is not supported in Safari.

Developers often try to ‘use the platform’ and assume their work will be accessible as a result. The result is that their work is either not accessible like they think it is, or they end up having to add some hacks and workarounds to fix pre-existing accessibility issues.

Hidde hopes the W3C’s ARIA-AT Community Group might be a suitable equivalent to Interop. It works on interoperability by writing tests (ensuring alignment between how assistive technologies behave and what users expect), running the tests across different assistive technologies, building consensus in the industry and enabling scalable automated testing.


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