A Beginner’s Guide to ARIA Tags

Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) is a set of attributes designed to improve the accessibility of web content and web applications for people with disabilities. ARIA tags (or attributes) are added to HTML elements to provide additional information about the element’s purpose, state, or functionality. This guide will introduce you to ARIA tags and show you how to use them to create more accessible web content.

Understanding ARIA Roles

ARIA roles are used to define the purpose of an HTML element within a webpage. They can be used to describe the role of an element to assistive technologies, such as screen readers. Some common ARIA roles include:

  • role=”button”: Indicates an element that acts as a button.
  • role=”navigation”: Indicates a section of the page that contains navigational elements.
  • role=”search”: Indicates a search function or form within the page.


<nav role="navigation">
    <li><a href="#home">Home</a></li>
    <li><a href="#about">About</a></li>
    <li><a href="#contact">Contact</a></li>

ARIA States and Properties:

ARIA states and properties provide additional information about the current state or properties of an element. They are used to convey this information to assistive technologies. Some common ARIA states and properties include:

  • aria-hidden=”true”: Indicates that an element should be hidden from assistive technologies.
  • aria-expanded=”true/false”: Indicates whether a collapsible element, such as a dropdown menu, is currently expanded or collapsed.
  • aria-label=”Text”: Provides a text description for elements that may not have a visible label.


<button aria-expanded="false" aria-controls="dropdownMenu">Menu</button>
<div id="dropdownMenu" aria-hidden="true">
  <!-- Dropdown menu content -->

Using ARIA with Forms:

ARIA can be used to enhance the accessibility of form elements. Common ARIA attributes for forms include:

  • aria-required=”true”: Indicates that a form input is required for submission.
  • aria-describedby=”ID”: Associates a description or instruction with a form element.
  • aria-invalid=”true”: Indicates that a form input contains an error.


<label for="email">Email:</label>
<input type="email" id="email" aria-required="true" aria-describedby="emailHelp">
<span id="emailHelp">Please enter a valid email address.</span>

ARIA Live Regions:

ARIA live regions allow you to inform assistive technologies about content updates that may occur on the page without user interaction. They can be used to announce updates such as form submission results, error messages, or notifications. ARIA live regions use the following attributes:

  • aria-live=”polite/assertive”: Indicates the priority of updates within the live region (polite waits for the user to finish their current task, assertive interrupts the user).
  • aria-atomic=”true/false”: Specifies whether the entire live region or just the updated part should be announced.
  • aria-relevant=”additions/removals/text”: Indicates the type of updates that should be announced.


<div aria-live="polite" aria-atomic="true" aria-relevant="additions">
  <!-- Updated content will be announced here -->


ARIA tags are essential for creating accessible web content and applications. By understanding and using ARIA roles, states, properties, and live regions, you can ensure that your content is more accessible to users with disabilities.

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