ARIA: What, Why and When


Presented at 8:00am in WB II on Wednesday, November 16, 2016.



  • Philip Kragnes, Manager, Computer Accommodations Program, University of Minnesota

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format:
  • Expertise Level: Expert
  • Type of session: General Conference


Learn about the W3C WAI ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) suite, why it was developed, when its use enhances accessibility and when its use is critical.


Assistive technologies must be able to interact effectively with Web content, Web applications, dynamic content and advanced user interface controls in order to ensure accessibility. However, most current Web technologies are incapable of providing the information necessary for users of assistive technologies to acquire information or interact with Web page elements, layouts and dynamic features. ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) became a W3C recommendation in March 2014. The use of ARIA can be used to identify and aid navigation of Web page regions, identify page elements and relationships, alert users to dynamic changes to the content and more. This presentation will cover a basic understanding of ARIA, why use it and when.


  1. • Learn the basics of ARIA, which became a W3C recommendation in March 2014.
  2. • Learn why ARIA is important for making dynamic content accessible.
  3. • Learn when the use of ARIA simply enhances usability and when its use is critical.

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Vision

Topic Areas

Assistive Technology, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Philip Kragnes

Philip M. Kragnes has served as the Adaptive Technology Specialist for the University of Minnesota since October 1998. He manages the Computer Accommodations Program (CAP) — a partnership of the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and the Office of Information Technology (OIT). CAP exists to ensure access to online information and services; hardware and software; classrooms, laboratories, event spaces and work environments for students, faculty, staff, guests and visitors with disabilities. Mr. Kragnes received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Cognitive Psychology from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1987. He developed Carnegie-Mellon University's first disability services program and served as its director for a year and a half, while pursuing his studies at the institution. In 1995, he received his Master of Science degree in Experimental Psychology: Human Cognition, Memory and Learning from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

Session handouts


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