Accessibility, AJAX, and ARIA

11 Nov 2010 - 4:58pm
776 reads
Mark Richman
2006

Hi all,

We are designing a web-based call center application which will feature a lot of dynamic behavior, and very little page-to-page branching. As a matter of fact, since this will be developed using Google Web Tools, it may wind up being a single-page application, where all changes to the display are dynamic.

This is the first time I'll actually be seeing through an accessible design that features AJAX behavior, and I've been very pleased to read through some documentation regarding ARIA -- apparently a lot of people have done wonderful work in classifying dynamic web behavior so screen readers can recognize in-flight screen changes.

However, I'm absolutely unclear as to how effective any of the notifications available with ARIA will actually be.

As an interaction designer I regularly -- although not solely -- rely on widgets, notification techniques, and behaviors that are at least  fairly well-documented and widely used. That's one of the yardsticks I use to determine whether users will understand them. But ARIA is a new world for me.

Has anyone been through an ARIA-based design for a web application? The app we're working on is quite large and complex and will definitely have behaviors such as edit-in-place or other ways of changing a view-only area into an editable region. It will be a lot more like Kayak than NYTimes.com.

Thanks. Any info, links, tutorials, etc are all appreciated.

Mark Richman

www.websosmart.com

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