Lab: Understanding ARIA Authoring Practices and Screen Readers


Presented at 10:30am in Virtual C on Tuesday, November 10, 2020.



  • Jon Gunderson, Coordinator of IT Accessibility, University of Illinois

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 3-hr
  • Format: Bring-your-own Device Workshop: Windows 10 or macOS laptop computer
  • Expertise Level: Intermediate
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


Participants will learn how Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) changes the user experience for screen reader users and meet WCAG 2.1 requirements. Hands on activities will be used to help people learn about ARIA and how screen readers work. An update will be provided on the new features of ARIA 1.2 and the ARIA Authoring Practices.


In this workshop participants will learn how the Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) 1.2 and HTML5 specifications can be used to make web resources more accessible and comply with WCAG standards and support a wide range of assistive technologies. The workshop includes a hands-on coding experience creating a simple ARIA enabled widget to see how the use of roles, properties and states changes the user experience for people using screen readers. The example will be tested using keyboard interaction, high contrast settings and screen readers including VoiceOver, JAWS and NVDA. More complex ARIA enabled widgets for menus, date pickers, and image carousels will also be demonstrated and tested to learn more about design issues with using ARIA and the effects on screen reader experience. Participants will learn how the ARIA Authoring Practices can be used to provide feedback to developers and designers on how to create accessible widgets when accessibility issues are discovered.


  1. Learn how to use the ARIA Authoring Practices to provide feedback to developers and designers
  2. Understand the basic operation of screen readers and how they support the use of ARIA markup.
  3. Understand keyboard testing, high contrast support and keyboard focus styling.

Disability Areas

Mobility, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Assistive Technology, Teaching about Accessibility in Curriculum, Uncategorized, Web/Media/App Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Jon Gunderson

Dr. Jon Gunderson is the Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology Accessibility in the Division of Disability Resources and Education Services (DRES) at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana, Illinois. He leads the development of open source web accessibility evaluation tools and coding practices resources to help web designers and developers understand accessible coding techniques. He is a member of the W3C ARIA Working Group has been a major contributor to the ARIA Authoring Practices and is a contributor to the ARIA Assistive Technology community group to test ARIA implementation in assistive technologies. He has given numerous presentations, workshops and courses related to web accessibility. He is a Certified Professional in Web Accessibility (CPWA) form the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP).


Schedule and HTML slides for the lab.