Certain ARIA roles must be contained by particular parents

Rule Description

Certain ARIA roles must be contained by particular parent roles in order to perform the intended accessibility functions.

The Algorithm, in Simple Terms

Checks all elements that contain a WAI-ARIA role to ensure that all required parent roles are present

Why this is Important

For each role, WAI-ARIA explicitly defines which child and parent roles are allowable and/or required. ARIA roles missing required parent roles will not be able to perform the accessibility functions intended by the developer.

When it is necessary to convey context to the user of assistive technology in the form of hierarchy (for example, the importance of a parent container, item or sibling in a folder tree), and the hierarchy is not the same as the code structure or DOM tree, there is no way to provide the relationship information without the use of ARIA role parent elements.

Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact: Critical
Disabilities Affected:
  • Blindness
  • Deafblindness
  • Mobility/Dexterity
Severity: Critical
Issue Type:
  • WCAG 2.0 (A): MUST
  • WCAG 2.1 (A): MUST
WCAG Success Criteria:
  • 1.3.1 Info and Relationships
Section 508 Guidelines:
  • Not applicable

How to Fix the Problem

Ensure all ARIA roles are contained by their required parent element, if any.

The relationship properties available in ARIA are the following:

  • aria-activedescendant
  • aria-controls (used primarily by elements where the role is group, region, or widget)
  • aria-describedby
  • aria-flowto (used primarily to provide alternate reading/tab order to skip past ads or complementary regions)
  • aria-labelledby
  • aria-owns (used primarily to identify which elements belong to the group)
  • aria-posinset
  • aria-setsize

ARIA allows you to communicate relationship information to screen readers, which specifies relationships between items (for example, aria-owns, aria-controls, both of which describe a kind of parent-child relationship where one item owns or controls another).

Related Deque University Course Pages

Other Related Resources

Additional Information

Relevant Technologies:
  • HTML 4
  • HTML5
  • ARIA
  • JavaScript
Relevant Custom Widget Type(s):
  • Live Region (ARIA)
Test Reliability: Automated testing is possible, with high accuracy
Rule ID: aria-required-parent