Moderated Re: What region am I in?

Mike B.

Hi Mark,
Read all of the following and hopefully it'll help:
 Original Message 
From: JM Casey
Hi everyone.
I was recently talking to some people designing a website, and attempting to
describe the experience using a screen-reader. I explained about quick
navigation, the virtual cursor/buffer, and the various types of elements to
which a screen-reader can quickly position its reading cursor. Although I
have yet to talk to the actual developer, and I think he might have a
greater understanding of this, I was unable to adequately describe a
"region", and how navigating by regions, or quickly jumping to the "main
region", has become essential on, for example, my bank website, which is
full of junk. Essentially, nobody seemed very familiar with this idea of
I found this page:
Which provides a decent explanation. I'm still only vaguely sure what aria
is, though.
Does anyone familiar with web-coding on the list feel like chiming in, I
Roger Newell
OK, this is going to be a bit of a rant, but please read it all
because you will hopefully find it interesting and important.
About ten years ago, a new concept was invented. It was called Web
2.0. It isn't a new "version" of the web, but rather a new approach to
what the web is and what it can do. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the
web was simply a portal for reading and editing basic information, but
around 2008 or so, this began tochange with the advent of Facebook,
Twitter and more comprehensive websites. People started using the web
for everything from banking to advanced document creation to even
viewing and manipulating the files on other devices.
To keep up with this, The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) created
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA). Many web developers saw
the need to use nonstandard controls on their websites. For example,
rather than having a button that advanced a user to a completely
different page to see information, they wanted to have controls that
expanded and collapsed different parts of a page. To let screen reader
users know exactly what they were seeing, ARIA can be used to tell the
screen reader and the blind user something like, "Hey. This is a
nonstandard control. Just think of it as a button and you'll be okay.
And by the way, right now, it's open, so there's more information to
see on this page." Web developers can use ARIA to give sections of
their pages custom region names. As an example, go to the Training
Downloads Page of the Freedom Scientific website.
A few years after ARIA came along, HTML5 (the latest version of the
markup language used to code websites) was released. This gave web
developers a lot of new semantic tools to play with because it was
hoped that they would use to identify different parts of their pages
so that one day, when AI would be advanced enough to read and
comprehend webpages themselves, they would be able to more easily
analyse websites using these semantic tags. Have you ever heard JAWS
say something like "article" or "content information"? There are also
tags for naming regions. These are some of the new tags in HTML5, but
be aware that sometimes JAWS does not speak the correct name for the
tag, which is one reason why JAWS is only somewhat
standards-compliant. In JAWS 2018, you have the ability to customize
what tags JAWS speaks aloud. To see this, go to Settings Center >
Web/HTML/PDF > Reading > Customize Web Verbosity Levels or something
like that.
So how do ARIA and HTML5 go together to announce regions? The answer
is that they often overlap. This page
explains this in greater detail and may be of more use to the people
doing the web design. It is somewhat strange that we can access this
page as it is part of a paid course, but it came up in Google search
So, to summarize, if at all possible, the web developers should
embrace both HTML5 and ARIA to make the most accessible website
Sorry for the long explanation.
JM Casey
Thank you very much, Roger. No need to apologise; this was exactly the sort
of thing I needed to read. Thanks for the page reference as well; I will
show it to my contact and maybe she can pass it along to the developer. I
understand the concept of web 2.0 and HTML 5; it was just good to get all
this stuff clarified a bit, especially in the case of "aria". So thanks

Take care and stay safe.  Mike.  Sent from my iBarstool.  Go Rams!
Main's Law:  For every action there is an equal and opposite government program.

----- Original Message -----
From: Mark
Sent: Sunday, November 01, 2020 6:50 AM
Subject: What region am I in?

I am on a webpage and bring up a list of links and then go to one of them.  Suddenly, I feel a bit lost. It would be helpful to know if I am in a main region, a complementary information region, or a footer region for example. Is there a JAWS command that will tell me that?

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