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We are happy to announce that even more RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX now have support for WAI-ARIA - a W3C standard with growing popularity in the past couple of years. Remaining true to our tradition of keeping up to date with the latest technologies and web standards we have further improved many of our controls which are now WAI-ARIA compliant. Starting with Q1 2013 the following RadControls will have improved or newly added WAI-ARIA support: RadAjaxManager, RadAjaxPanel, RadAjaxLoadingPanel, RadBarcode, RadBinaryImage, RadCalendar, RadDatePicker, RadTimePicker, RadMonthYearPicker, RadComboBox, RadEditor, RadFilter, RadGrid, RadDateInput, RadTextBox, RadNumericTextBox, RadMaskedTextBox, RadDataPager, RadNotification, RadPivotGrid, RadToolTip, RadTreeList, RadTreeView, RadWindow.

How to enable it?
All the controls share similar server and client-side API for controlling this behavior. On the server-side you have a property called EnableAriaSupport (false by default). And on the client you can configure it using the get_enableAriaSupport client-side property.

Changes to the HTML

Enabling the support will automatically render the appropriate WAI-ARIA attributes on every HTML element where this is needed depending whether a feature is turned on or not. For example by default the RadGrid renders with role “grid” on the main HTML element and respective roles: “row”, “columnheader”, “gridcell” on the inner elements of the table. WAI-ARIA attributes are also rendered according to the enabled feature, for example if you have selection or sorting enabled, “aria-selected”, and “aria-sorted” attributes will render appropriately depending on the user action.

How does it help to improve the accessibility?

One of the main advantages provided by the WAI-ARIA standard is allowing means for the screen readers and other assistive devices to notify users with disabilities when a partial page update has happened and it needs the user’s attention. This option is leveraged by the RadAjaxManager and RadAjaxPanel controls which designate live regions of the page with the respective WAI-ARIA attributes: “aria-live”, “aria-atomic”, “aria-busy”. 

We are also planning on extending the WAI-ARIA support even more for future releases and make all controls compliant with the standard where this is applicable.

So let us know in the comments what you think of the new feature. Do you think it will bring more value to your applications and what else would you like to see supported.

Eager to test the feature yourself? Then you can download the Q1’13 Beta release and send us your feedback in the beta forums. You can also see it in action and find out more about the rest of the awesome features coming in the official release by registering for our live webinars and getting the chance to walk away with a cool Telerik .NET Ninja t-shirt and a ThinkGeek gift card. Register here!

Download RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX Q1 2013 Beta

About the Author

Marin Georgiev

is a software developer in one of Telerik's ASP.NET AJAX Teams. Since he joined the company in 2010 he's been working on different client-side features and extending the mobile support of the controls. His interests include mobile and web development as well as integration with Sharepoint 2010.

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