Accessible Name Description and Computation 1.1

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Vincenzo Rubano
on · 2 minutes reading.

Accessible Name and Description Computation 1.1 is an important W3C recommendation that explains how user agents (which are not limited to web browsers only) should compute the so called “accessible name” and “accessible description” of each element found in a web page. These properties are exposed to all major accessibility APIs in any platform, and constitute a critical piece of information to ensure that any element (buttons, links, text fields, complex widgets, ETC.) is accessible for assistive technology users.

The accessible name of an element is a string that constitutes the “name” of that element, and should uniquely identify it. It can be derived from a string that is visible (for example, the text of a link), or invisible (such as the alternative text of an image). Any element that is exposed to accessibility APIs must have an accessible name. A couple examples might illustrate how critical the presence of this property is: a screen reader, for example, uses it to let blind and visually impaired users identify each element; voice control systems, on the other hand, can use this string to let users activate specific elements.

The accessible description is a string that provides additional information related to an interface element designed to that complements the accessible name. As for the accessible name, the accessible description can be a string that is visible or invisible; in contrast, however, the accessible description is optional.

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