Ensures "role=text" is used on elements with no focusable descendants

Rule ID: aria-text
Ruleset: axe-core 4.4
User Impact: Serious
WCAG: Best Practice

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Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact


Disabilities Affected

  • Blind
  • Mobility


  • WCAG 2.1 (A): SHOULD
  • WCAG 2.0 (A): SHOULD

WCAG Success Criteria

  • Not specified, or not applicable

Section 508 Guidelines

  • Not specified, or not applicable

How to Fix the Problem

Correct markup solutions

The role="text" attribute should be put on an element with no focusable descendants.

<div role="section">
  <a href="/site.html">Announced as link</a>

Incorrect markup solutions

<div role="text">
  <a href="/site.html">Not announced as link</a>

Why it Matters

When a text node is split by markup (e.g. <h1>Hello <span>World</span></h1>) VoiceOver will treat it as two separate phrases instead of just one. Adding role="text" around the elements solves the problem. However, it also overrides the role of the element and all descendants and treats them all as text nodes. If one of the descendant elements is also focusable it would create an empty tab stop. That is, you could tab to the element but VoiceOver would not announce its name, role, or value.

Rule Description

Elements with role="text" must not have focusable descendants.

The Algorithm (in simple terms)

Checks all elements with role="text" to ensure that they do not contain focusable content, including content hidden with tabindex="-1".


Refer to the complete list of axe 4.4 rules.

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