What’s new in W3C ARIA 1.2 and the ARIA Authoring Practices


Presented at 3:00pm in Virtual A on Thursday, November 12, 2020.



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

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 45 minutes
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: All Levels
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


This session will highlight the new features of the W3C Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) 1.2 Specification for creating more accessible online resources and the changes to the ARIA Authoring Practices to improve guidance in using ARIA and more robust examples that demonstrate best practices for focus styling and high contrast support.


The W3C Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) 1.2 specification has many new features including, harmonization of roles with HTML elements, new accessible naming and description techniques, and the Accessible Object Model (AOM) that allows a new way for scripting to set and get values for ARIA roles, properties and states. The ARIA Authoring Practices have also been updated to improve guidance in using ARIA, including combo boxes, date pickers and image carousels. Examples have been improved to demonstrate best practices for focus styling and support for OS high contrast modes. The session will also provide information on the activities of the ARIA AT working group which is testing ARIA implementation in screen reader technology to help developers better understand how ARIA effects the actual screen reader user experience and assistive technology companies a clearer picture of how they use ARIA information. Feedback and questions will be encouraged throughout the session.


  1. HTML harmonization, the Accessible Object Model (AOM) and accessible name and description features.
  2. Improved guidance and examples that support best practices for focus styling and high contrast support.
  3. How the ARIA AT group is testing screen readers on the use ARIA to enhance the user experience.

Disability Areas

Mobility, Vision

Topic Areas

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).

Presentation Slides

HTML slides used in the presentation.