WAI-ARIA Fundamentals


Presented at 8:00am in Denver 1-3 on Wednesday, November 16, 2022.



  • Christina Adams, CPWA, Digital Accessibility Software Engineer, Siteimprove

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 2-hr
  • Format: Lab
  • Expertise Level: Expert
  • Type of session: General Conference


ARIA is a complex set of tools that can help create accessible digital experiences, however when implemented improperly can create a negative user experience or even prevent access all together. In this session we will go over what ARIA is, what ARIA is not, and how to begin implementing ARIA techniques efficiently. We will look at code examples, but any technical ability will be able to follow and learn these fundamentals.


Following the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative's technical documentation on ARIA can be intimidating. This presentation is a summary of ARIA fundamentals that will be a useful starting place for anyone creating digital products. ARIA gives us the tools to make accessible user interfaces and communicate information to assistive technologies in a more effective way, however if done improperly ARIA can greatly hurt the user experience and even prevent users or assistive technologies from accessing the content of a website. This session covers the basics of what ARIA is, what it is not, and how to implement basic techniques.

We will work through examples of each ARIA technique categories: structural, landmarks, widgets, composite widgets, relationships, descriptions, and live regions. For each technique category we will look at how it is implemented, how to implement the full solution properly and look at a few easy code examples. Each technique has best practices to follow and some have complex requirements which are often forgotten or neglected. We will take a closer look at certain techniques that require a larger amount or work so that when these patterns are suggested within a product we can make better decisions on what patterns to follow and ways to seek alternatives that may be simpler or easier to maintain into the future. From the ARIA Authoring Practices - No ARIA is better than bad ARIA, and with this fundamental knowledge you will be able to use ARIA more effectively.


  1. ARIA can improve user interfaces for assistive technologies.
  2. When implemented improperly ARIA can make an inaccessible experience.
  3. ARIA should be used sparingly and is a promise to complete the UI pattern for the best user outcomes.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas


Speaker Bio(s)

Christina Adams, CPWA

Christina Adams is a Digital Accessibility Software Engineer at Siteimprove and is a Certified Professional in Web Accessibility through the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (CPWA). Christina's work is focused on crafting successful user experiences and is a champion of inclusive process improvements. As an accessibility subject matter expert she helps drive accessibility initiatives and provides educational and consultative services to our customers worldwide. With a deep technical understanding of the web alongside a passion for design and user experience Christina is helping to create a more inclusive and accessible web.