ARIA attributes must conform to valid values

Rule Description

ARIA attributes (i.e. starting with aria-) must contain valid values. These values must be spelled correctly and correspond to values that make sense for a particular attribute in order to perform the intended accessibility function.

The Algorithm, in Simple Terms

Checks all elements that contain WAI-ARIA atributes to ensure that the values of the attributes are valid

Why this is Important

If the developer uses an incorrect value for an ARIA attribute, the attribute will not be able to perform the accessibility function intended by the developer.

Many ARIA attributes accept a specific set of values. The allowed values, acceptable "undefined" values, and acceptable "default" values must be adhered to, otherwise the user interface behaviors will not function as intended in order to allow assistive technologies to convey appropriate information to persons with disabilities.

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:
  • 4.1.1 Parsing
  • 1.3.1 Info and Relationships
  • 4.1.2 Name, Role, Value
Section 508 Guidelines:
  • Not applicable

How to Fix the Problem

Ensure the value inside each attribute is spelled correctly and corresponds to a valid value.

For example, aria-hidden="true" would pass, but aria-hidden="rtue" would fail, as would aria-hidden="pizza".

As another example, the checkbox role only has three possible values: true, false, or mixed. Using any value other than one of those three will prevent the checkbox from being functional.


Particular caution must be used when specifying values for ARIA attributes, as factors such as the distinction between states and properties, role inheritance, undefined and default values can be confusing.

Value Types

It is useful to take into consideration the following allowed state or property value types:

Value representing either true or false, with a default "false" value.
Value representing true or false, with an intermediate "mixed" value. Default value is "false" unless otherwise specified.
Value representing true or false, with a default "undefined" value indicating the state or property is not relevant.
ID reference
Reference to the ID of another element in the same document
ID reference list
A list of one or more ID references.
A numerical value without a fractional component.
Any real numerical value.
Unconstrained value type.
One of a limited set of allowed values.
token list
A list of one or more tokens.

Undefined Value: The "undefined" value, when allowed on a state or property, is an explicit indication that the state or property is not set. The value is used on states and properties that support tokens, and the "undefined" value is a string that is one of the allowed tokens. It is also used on some states and properties that accept true/false values, when "undefined" has a different meaning than "false".

These are generic types for states and properties, but do not define specific representation. See State and Property Attribute Processing for details on how these values are expressed and handled in host languages.

Default Value and Implicit Value for Role: Many states and properties have default values. Occasionally, the default value when used on a given role should be different from the usual default. Roles that require a state or property to have a non-standard default value indicate this in the "Implicit Value for Role". This is expressed in the form "state or property name is new default value". Roles that define this have the new default value for the state or property if the author does not provide an explicit value.

State and Property Values Reference: For complete information about allowed values, refer to the table of characteristics for each individual attribute at W3C WAI-ARIA 1.1 Supported States and Properties.

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-valid-attr-value