Why ARIA labels are crucial for your website’s accessibility?

ARIA Labels for Website Accessibility

The purpose of ARIA labels is to ensure that assistive technology (AT) can read objects such as buttons. For example, when a screen reader encounters an object, it reads out the aria label provided by the developer and it helps screen reader users get a clear idea about it. ARIA fixes the gap in semantics, if any, by providing roles, states, and properties to elements to ensure that they can be read by AT. Roles help developers define elements, whereas states and properties help them define the current conditions and characteristics of the element.

In this blog, we will explore the benefits of using aria labels and their importance in web accessibility.

Benefits of using Aria Labels in Web Development

There are several reasons why you might use an “aria-label” in web development. Let us go through the three most popular advantages of using them:

1. Consistency

Using aria-labels helps to provide consistent and predictable labeling across different devices and platforms. Different browsers and operating systems may handle visual labels differently, and some users may have customized settings that affect how labels are displayed. By using aria-labels, developers can ensure that the same text is used to describe an element across all platforms and devices.

2. SEO

Aria-labels can also help with search engine optimization (SEO). Including relevant keywords in aria-labels can make it easier for search engines like Google to understand the purpose and meaning of different elements on a page. Therefore, it will help improve the website’s overall visibility and ranking in search results.

3. Design

Lastly, using aria-labels can help with the overall design and user experience of a website. By providing clear and concise labels for interactive elements, developers can improve the usability and accessibility of the site, making it easier for users to navigate and interact with different features and functions.

4. Examples

Here are some commonly used aria-labels 

aria-label: This attribute is used to provide a label for an element. For example, you might use aria-label=”Search” to describe a search button.

aria-labelled by: This attribute is used to reference another element on the page that provides a label for the current element. For example, you might use aria-labelledby=”search-label” to reference a label element with an ID of search-label.

aria-described by: This attribute references another element on the page that describes the current element. For example, you might use aria-describedby=”search-description” to reference a description element with an ID of search-description.

These attributes can be used on a variety of elements, including buttons, links, form fields, and more. By using these attributes, you can provide additional information about the purpose of these elements to people with disabilities.

Why is it essential for accessibility?

It’s crucial to ensure that elements on your website are clear in their purpose and function for all users, including those with disabilities. When designing your website, it’s important to consider how different users will interact with your site and to ensure that your elements are designed in a way that is clear and easy to understand.

For example, if you have a checkbox on your website, it should behave like a checkbox and not like a dropdown. This is important because people who use assistive technologies rely on these elements to understand what they do and how they work. If an element doesn’t behave as expected, it can be frustrating and confusing for users with disabilities.

One of the primary reasons to use an aria-label is to improve accessibility for users with disabilities. Screen readers and other assistive technologies rely on text descriptions to convey the meaning and purpose of non-textual content, such as images and interactive elements. By providing an aria-label, developers can ensure that users with visual impairments or other disabilities can understand and interact with all parts of the website.

By designing your website with accessibility in mind, you can ensure that all users can use it effectively. This can help you cater to a wider audience and improve the overall user experience of your website. Feel free to contact AEL Data if you would like assistance with your accessibility issues or a review of the accessibility of your website.

Aditya Bikkani

Aditya Bikkani

Aditya is the COO of AELData, a growing technology company in the Digital Publishing and Education sectors. He is also an entrepreneur and founder of an accessibility tool called LERA. A W3C COGA (Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility) Community Member Aditya contributes to researching methodologies to improve web accessibility and usability for people with cognitive and learning disabilities.

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