Jun 3, 2015
Mehul Harry (DevExpress)

DevExtreme HTML5 Widgets - WAI-ARIA Accessibility (Coming soon in v15.1)

With the v15.1 release, the DevExtreme HTML 5/JS widgets now include support for the WAI-ARIA standard (and support screen readers).

WAI-ARIA standard

To understand what WAI-ARIA is, I highly recommend reading this excellent introduction by the W3.org: WAI-ARIA Overview

I've included a short paragraph here:

WAI-ARIA, the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite, defines a way to make Web content and Web applications more accessible to people with disabilities. It especially helps with dynamic content and advanced user interface controls developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript, and related technologies. Currently certain functionality used in Web sites is not available to some users with disabilities, especially people who rely on screen readers and people who cannot use a mouse. WAI-ARIA addresses these accessibility challenges, for example, by defining new ways for functionality to be provided to assistive technology. With WAI-ARIA, developers can make advanced Web applications accessible and usable to people with disabilities. -WAI-ARIA Overview, w3.org

Technical solution

DevExtreme widgets supports WAI-ARIA standard with the v15.1 release. WAI-ARIA is a web oriented standard, developed in W3C for making web applications accessible. It solves the problem by using special html-attributes in DOM elements which give assistive technologies ability to interact with the page content.

DevExtreme widgets set aria-attributes and change them according to the current control's state.

With DevExtreme v15.1, the end-user can:

  • Interact with widgets without a monitor using the tested screen reader application
  • Interact with widgets without a mouse using our accessible keyboard navigation

Supported Screen Readers

DevExtreme v15.1 supports the NVDA open source screen reader - one of most popular among open source assistive technologies. However, you may use any other assistive technology supporting the WAI-ARIA standard.