First try at ARIA role and state markup -- looking for advice

a.cheetham at a.cheetham at
Wed Jun 13 14:01:38 UTC 2007

Hi, Rich, thanks for your feedback. We have some questions:

Richard Schwerdtfeger <schwer at> wrote:

> 1. The grid does not have to have a readonly attribute on or off. You will
> want to set that on the individual girdcells as these are what will receive
> focus and these are for which the AT will want to speak "readonly."

Just to double-check: In the case of the Lightbox, the cells of the  
grid are actually re-orderable. In that sense, the grid itself is  
being changed, and hence could be thought of as 'not readonly.' This  
is why we set the attribute to off.

Given this, should we still remove the attribute?

> 2.  Activedescendent is not supported yet in IE. but you could use tabindex
> to manage your focus on the cells.

The Gallery Tool into which we are currently incorporating the  
Lightbox (i.e. the grid) uses the tab key to move focus *to* the grid,  
but within the cells of the grid, the arrow keys are used to move  
focus from one cell to another. For this reason, I believe we actually  
don't want tabindex on the cells themselves.

Maybe you can clarify what activedescendent is for, and how tabindex  
would be used in its stead?

Does the fact that activedescendent is not yet supported mean that we  
*shouldn't* use it, or that we should use something else as well?

> 3. You don't need to put a namespace on role for FF.  ... could have
> role="wairole:gridcell"


> 4. This solution works for xhtml. If you want an html solution go to
> If you want to see a working grid that works in FF:

Thanks for these pointers, we'll have a look.

One last question, regarding the 'application' role:

In our case, the grid itself *is* the lightbox application, but our  
understanding is that you can not have multiple roles. We could wrap  
the lightbox in another div that exists just to add the application  
role, but we're wondering if there are other options.

Again, thanks for your help with this.

Anastasia Cheetham                   a.cheetham at
Software Designer, Fluid Project
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre / University of Toronto

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