HTML 5 and Accessibility

HTML 5 is under development, and I thought I’d point out some proposed changes that directly affect accessibility, namely, the removal of certain attributes:

  • accesskey attribute on a, area, button, input, label, legend and textarea
  • longdesc attribute on img and iframe
  • target attribute on link
  • summary attribute on table
  • headers, axis and abbr attributes on td and th
  • scope attribute on td

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6 replies on “HTML 5 and Accessibility”

(tone: curious, not snarky)

How is the lack of the target attribute an accessibility concern? 🙂

Is so that you can still open a link in a new window when javascript is disable?


I just started using ‘scope’ and headers with regularity to map data to the appropriate ‘th’.
Are there good alternatives to making table data accessible.

Something to keep in mind it that the publication of HTML 5 as a W3C Working Draft does not imply that all of the participants in the W3C HTML working group endorse the contents of the specification.

For instance, in addition to the issues pointed out in this excellent post, opposition exists to the HTML5 editor’s decision to omit the alt attribute for critical content. Some people within the working group questioned this decision, and sought a formal response from PFWG. PFWG is W3C’s Protocols and Formats Working Group, a group, which looks at the formal Web technologies from an accessibility perspective. Steve Faulkner and others of us are now working on Action 54 to draft text for HTML 5 spec to require producers/authors to include @alt on img elements.

I would encourage accessibility folks to join the HTML WG to help insure accessibly is incorporated into the spec. Hixie has a set of alternate more user friendly instructions. Note: For step 4 Karl Dubost is not the staff contact anymore. Michael Smith, now holds that position.

Comments from the public are also badly needed. Just send an email to Karl Dubost has offered some good suggestions for submitting comments.

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