Lately I was reading there was some noise surrounding HTML5 and the myth of WAI-ARIA redundance. It surprises me how quickly finding the actual problem here is dismissed as “who knows.” It almost seems as if some part of the accessibility community has shifted from promoting the writing of clean markup, to promoting write whatever the fuck you want as long as you make it accessible. Write whatever you want with some WAI-ARIA sugar on top is in some scenarios the only thing what works right now. I do not believe that means we should just let it run its course. The real solution to making a button implemented using five
div elements and some scripting accessible is not WAI-ARIA. It is to drastically improve the styling capabilities of
The solution to making new patterns accessible is to create smarter ways for people to do them that are automatically accessible and do not require annotation with WAI-ARIA. WAI-ARIA is still useful to push the envelope, but the long tail of the Web is just not going to care enough. It would be terrible if only the top five hundred or so websites in each country were accessible mostly due to accessibility advocacy groups. Especially since we have the ability to do much better than that.
As an example take the new HTML5
progress element. It greatly simplifies creating a progress bar and when implemented correctly in user agents it is automatically accessible. However, the whole user interface part of the element is somewhat up in the air. I do not think I am personally the right person to work on that, but that is the kind of problem we should be trying to tackle.