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37th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Has Concluded

Notifying AT of Dynamic Changes Using Status Messages

Date & Time
Thursday, March 17, 2022 - 11:20 AM PST  
Grand GHJK  
CGI develops and maintains numerous enterprise-level web applications that feature dynamic changes and complex interactions. In making these applications accessible, we find that a lot of our time is spent advising developers on properly conveying dynamic changes to Assistive Technologies (AT) users. Since most of the work we support is for the Federal government, the WCAG conformance target is typically at the 2.0 level. However, we've found ourselves paying more and more attention to WCAG Success Criterion (SC) 4.1.3: Status Messages (introduced as part of WCAG 2.1) in ensuring that AT users are notified of the various changes that dynamically occur within our web applications. This session aims to provide a deep dive into WCAG SC 4.1.3: Status Messages. CGI plans to explain what this success criterion covers, who benefits from it and implement a status message using Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) markup. We also plan to direct attention to a note that is included on the Understanding Success Criterion 4.1.3: Status Messages page, which states: "The purpose of this success criterion is not to force authors to generate new status messages. It intends to ensure that when status messages are displayed, they are programmatically identified in a way that allows assistive technologies to present them to the user." As alluded to in this note, there may be cases where a dynamic change is already being successfully communicated to AT (through focus management, the toggling of an accessible name/role/state, etc.). In these cases, a status message may not be needed. We also want to be careful not to "overuse" status messages since we've heard from individuals in the screen reader community that overdoing announcements can create an overly-verbose experience which can sometimes be as challenging as not including them at all. As a result, one of the key goals of this session is to break down carefully when a status message might be needed vs. not needed. This session aims to talk about status messaging at a broader level to cover the other types of dynamic changes that can occur on the page and how we would communicate these changes to AT in a way that satisfies WCAG SC 4.1.3.  
  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Government
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
CGI will take you on a deep dive of WCAG 2.1 Success Criterion 4.1.3: Status Messages for communicating dynamic changes within web content. CGI will explain what this success criterion covers, who benefits from it, when status messages are needed, and how to implement them using ARIA markup.  
Session Type
General Track  
  • Blind/Low Vision
  • Development
  • Digital Accessibility
  • Information & Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Web


  • Elizabeth Whitmer

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