Figure role

All of you would have read the books in school days or college days or even now. You might be wondering that Why I am talking about books. Especially in the books, we see lot of figure patterns. In these books, We will have figure in the right hand side and depiction of that figure in the left hand side. Let us take simple example

In the right hand side, We have the figure called US census statistics on the disability. In the left hand side, we have the information like almost 1 in 5 people reports to have some type of disability(see figure 1. This is how we have it in the textbooks. In general, we call this type of images or pictures as figures. Screen reader announce these type of pictures as “image” or “graphic” , which is not correct interpretation when it compares with the real world. These type of pictures are called as figures in the real world.

figure role helps to bring the same level of experience to the screen reader users as well like the how those type of images are being interpreted in the real world. When figure role is applied then screen reader announces as “figure”, which is more identical, more meaningful, more logical, more appropriate,  when it compares with the real world. Figure role is equivalent of HTML 5 figure. We typically use figure role for the figures in the books. Figure role can be used for the chats, code snippets, diagrams, example text. Parts of a figure  may be user navigable

Author notes

  • Authors SHOULD provide a reference to the figure from the main text, but the figure need not be displayed at the same location as the referencing element.
  • Authors MAY reference text serving as a caption using aria-describedby.
  • Authors MAY provide a label using aria-label or MAY reference text serving as a label using aria-labelledby.

Notes for assistive technology vendors

  • Assistive technologies SHOULD enable users to quickly navigate to figures. Mainstream user agents MAY enable users to quickly navigate to figures.


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