Definition of WAI-ARIA Roles - Pro HTML5 Accessibility: Building an Inclusive Web (2012)

Pro HTML5 Accessibility: Building an Inclusive Web (2012)


Definition of WAI-ARIA Roles

The definitions in this appendix1 are taken from Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.0 at

The following is an alphabetical list of WAI-ARIA roles to be used by rich internet application authors.


A message with important, and usually time-sensitive, information. See related alertdialog and status.


A type of dialog that contains an alert message, where initial focus goes to an element within the dialog. See related alert and dialog.


A region declared as a web application, as opposed to a web document.


A section of a page that consists of a composition that forms an independent part of a document, page, or site.


A region that contains mostly site-oriented content, rather than page-specific content.


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An input that allows for user-triggered actions when clicked or pressed. See related link.


A checkable input that has three possible values: true, false, or mixed.


A cell containing header information for a column.


A presentation of a select control; usually similar to a textbox where users can type ahead to select an option, or type to enter arbitrary text as a new item in the list. See related listbox.

command (abstract role)

A form of widget that performs an action but does not receive input data.


A supporting section of the document, designed to be complementary to the main content at a similar level in the DOM hierarchy, but which remains meaningful when separated from the main content.

composite (abstract role)

A widget that can contain navigable descendants or owned children.


A large perceivable region that contains information about the parent document.


A definition of a term or concept.


An application window designed to interrupt the current processing of an application in order to prompt the user to enter information or require a response. See related alertdialog.


A list of references to members of a group, such as a static table of contents.


A region containing related information that is declared as document content, as opposed to a web application.


A landmark region that contains a collection of items and objects that, as a whole, combine to create a form. See related search.


A grid is an interactive control that contains cells of tabular data arranged in rows and columns, like a table.


A cell in a grid or treegrid.


A set of user interface objects that are not intended to be included in a page summary or table of contents by assistive technologies.


A heading for a section of the page.


A container for a collection of elements that form an image.

input (abstract role)

A generic type of widget that allows user input.

landmark (abstract role)

A region of the page intended as a navigational landmark.


An interactive reference to an internal or external resource that, when activated, causes the user agent to navigate to that resource. See related button.


A group of noninteractive list items. See related listbox.


A widget that allows the user to select one or more items from a list of choices. See related combobox and list.


A single item in a list or directory.


A type of live region where new information is added in meaningful order and old information might disappear. See related marquee.


The main content of a document.


A type of live region where nonessential information changes frequently. See related log.


Content that represents a mathematical expression.


A type of widget that offers a list of choices to the user.


A presentation of a menu that usually remains visible and is usually presented horizontally.


An option in a group of choices contained by a menu or menubar.


A checkable menuitem that has three possible values: true, false, or mixed.


A checkable menuitem in a group of menuitemradio roles, only one of which can be selected at a time.


A collection of navigational elements (usually links) for navigating the document or related documents.


A section whose content is parenthetical or ancillary to the main content of the resource.


A selectable item in a select list.


An element whose implicit native role semantics will not be mapped to the accessibility API.


An element that displays the progress status for tasks that take a long time.


A checkable input in a group of radio roles, only one of which can be selected at a time.


A group of radio buttons.

range (abstract role)

An input representing a range of values that can be set by the user.


A large perceivable section of a web page or document that the author feels is important enough to be included in a page summary or table of contents—for example, an area of the page containing live sporting event statistics.

roletype (abstract role)

The base role from which all other roles in this taxonomy inherit.


A row of cells in a grid.


A group containing one or more row elements in a grid.


A cell containing header information for a row in a grid.


A graphical object that controls the scrolling of content within a viewing area, regardless of whether the content is fully displayed within the viewing area.


A landmark region that contains a collection of items and objects that, as a whole, combine to create a search facility. See related form.

section (abstract role)

A renderable structural containment unit in a document or application.

sectionhead (abstract role)

A structure that labels or summarizes the topic of its related section.

select (abstract role)

A form widget that allows the user to make selections from a set of choices.


A divider that separates and distinguishes sections of content or groups of menuitems.


A user input where the user selects a value from within a given range.


A form of range control that expects the user to select from among discrete choices.


A container whose content is advisory information for the user but is not important enough to justify an alert, often but not necessarily presented as a status bar. See related alert.

structure (abstract role)

A document structural element.


A grouping label providing a mechanism for selecting the tab content that is to be rendered to the user.


A list of tab elements, which are references to tabpanel elements.


A container for the resources associated with a tab, where each tab is contained in a tablist.


Input control that allows free-form text as its value.


A type of live region containing a numerical counter that indicates an amount of elapsed time from a start point, or the time remaining until an end point.


A collection of commonly used function buttons represented in compact visual form.


A contextual popup that displays a description for an element.


A type of list that can contain sublevel nested groups that can be collapsed and expanded.


A grid whose rows can be expanded and collapsed in the same manner as for a tree.


An option item of a tree. This is an element within a tree that can be expanded or collapsed if it contains a sublevel group of treeitems.

widget (abstract role)

An interactive component of a graphical user interface (GUI).

window (abstract role)

A browser or application window.

WAI-ARIA States and Properties

Following is an alphabetical list of WAI-ARIA states and properties to be used by rich internet application authors. Go to for more on these terms and definitions.


Identifies the currently active descendant of a composite widget.


Indicates whether assistive technologies will present all, or only parts of, the changed region based on the change notifications defined by the aria-relevant attribute. See related aria-relevant.


Indicates whether user-input completion suggestions are provided.

aria-busy (state)

Indicates whether an element and its subtree are currently being updated.

aria-checked (state)

Indicates the current “checked” state of checkboxes, radio buttons, and other widgets. See related aria-pressed and aria-selected.


Identifies the element (or elements) whose contents or presence are controlled by the current element. See related aria-owns.


Identifies the element (or elements) that describes the object. See related aria-labelledby.

aria-disabled (state)

Indicates that the element is perceivable but disabled, so it is not editable or otherwise operable. See related aria-hidden and aria-readonly.


Indicates what functions can be performed when the dragged object is released on the drop target. This allows assistive technologies to convey the possible drag options available to users, including whether a pop-up menu of choices is provided by the application. Typically, drop-effect functions can be provided only after an object has been grabbed for a drag operation because the drop-effect functions available are dependent on the object being dragged.

aria-expanded (state)

Indicates whether the element, or another grouping element it controls, is currently expanded or collapsed.


Identifies the next element (or elements) in an alternate reading order of content that, at the user's discretion, allows assistive technology to override the general default of reading in document source order.

aria-grabbed (state)

Indicates an element's “grabbed” state in a drag-and-drop operation.


Indicates that the element has a popup context menu or sublevel menu.

aria-hidden (state)

Indicates that the element and all of its descendants are not visible or perceivable to any user as implemented by the author. See related aria-disabled.

aria-invalid (state)

Indicates the entered value does not conform to the format expected by the application.


Defines a string value that labels the current element. See related aria-labelledby.


Identifies the element (or elements) that labels the current element. See related aria-label and aria-describedby.


Defines the hierarchical level of an element within a structure.


Indicates that an element will be updated, and describes the types of updates the user agents, assistive technologies, and user can expect from the live region.


Indicates whether a text box accepts multiple lines of input or only a single line.


Indicates that the user can select more than one item from the current selectable descendants.


Indicates whether the element and orientation are horizontal or vertical.


Identifies an element (or elements) in order to define a visual, functional, or contextual parent/child relationship between DOM elements where the DOM hierarchy cannot be used to represent the relationship. See related aria-controls.


Defines an element's number or position in the current set of listitems or treeitems. It's not required if all elements in the set are present in the DOM. See related aria-setsize.

aria-pressed (state)

Indicates the current “pressed” state of toggle buttons. See related aria-checked and aria-selected.


Indicates that the element is not editable, but is otherwise operable. See related aria-disabled.


Indicates what user-agent change notifications (additions, removals, and so on) assistive technologies will receive within a live region. See related aria-atomic.


Indicates that user input is required on the element before a form can be submitted.

aria-selected (state)

Indicates the current “selected” state of various widgets. See related aria-checked and aria-pressed.


Defines the number of items in the current set of listitems or treeitems. It's not required if all elements in the set are present in the DOM. See related aria-posinset.


Indicates if items in a table or grid are sorted in ascending or descending order.


Defines the maximum allowed value for a range widget.


Defines the minimum allowed value for a range widget.


Defines the current value for a range widget. See related aria-valuetext.


Defines the human-readable text alternative of aria-valuenow for a range widget.