HTML5 structural elements not exposed via accessibility API - by StevenFaulkner

Status : 

  External<br /><br />
		This item may be valid but belongs to an external system out of the direct control of this product team.<br /><br />
		A more detailed explanation for the resolution of this particular item may have been provided in the comments section.


ID 804723 Comments
Status Closed Workarounds
Type Bug Repros 4
Opened 10/7/2013 4:42:59 AM
Access Restriction Public

Description

One of the things that struck me was IE's continuing lack of exposure
(as compared to other browsers such as Firefox on windows and Safari
on Mac) of section , grouping and text level semantic elements via an
accessibility API (UI automation in IE's case). Note this is not just
about new HTML5 structures, for example IE is the only browser, that
while supporting the expression of accessibility information via
accessibility APIs, does not expose the semantics of the h1 to h6
elements via an accessibility API.

I thought that this was due to UI automations inability to express
such structures, but upon further reading of the UI automation it
appears possible (from my naive reading of the documenatation) for
example the semantics could be expressed via the use of properties of
the text control pattern [2] or by creating a new custom control
pattern(s) or by use of the ability to express ARIA
role/state/property information via UI automation [4]


I would be interested to hear from the IE team why such structures are
not exposed via UI automation as I think this would provide a robust
method for assistive tech to access such semantic information about
such HTML elements without having to resort to interrogating the HTML
DOM.

[1] http://www.html5accessibility.com/
[2] http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd320536(v=vs.85).aspx
[3] http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd757493(v=vs.85).aspx
[4] http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ie/gg701984(v=vs.85).aspx
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Posted by Microsoft on 4/4/2016 at 11:01 AM
We've moved! This issue is now being tracked at https://developer.microsoft.com/microsoft-edge/platform/issues/1218947/
Posted by StevenFaulkner on 3/2/2016 at 8:43 AM
Note the updated mapping requirements for header and footer elements:

API mapping for header and footer
http://rawgit.com/w3c/aria/master/html-aam/html-aam.html#el-header
http://rawgit.com/w3c/aria/master/html-aam/html-aam.html#el-footer
Posted by StevenFaulkner on 7/2/2014 at 7:28 AM
The elements that IE does not expose the accessibility semantics for are used on many sites:
some recent data of html element uses with relevant elements highlighted: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AlVP5_A996c5dHd4eGJfVXdrYThURzdvMlpERHl3WHc&usp=sharing and the number is growing daily.

So if a screen reader user (for example) interacts with the pages containing the elements, using Firefox or Chrome, or Safari on OSX/IOS typically she can navigate to each of them, they are identified to her. This is because the semantics of the elements are exposed via the accessibility APIs in the browser. IE does not expose this information, so typically the information is not conveyed to users. In other words IE breaks the pages for some disabled users, rendering content structure less understandable.
Posted by Microsoft on 1/23/2014 at 12:02 PM
Thanks for the feedback. We will continue to track this for possible inclusion in a future product release.
Best regards,
The Internet Explorer Team
Posted by Microsoft on 1/13/2014 at 9:05 AM
Thank you for your feedback. We are reviewing your questions and will be investigating this issue further.

Best regards,
The Internet Explorer Team