Carry On Testing 2023

2 bottles of curdled milk.

In my role at TPGi I regularly get asked for advice on how stuff works. For example, the other day I was asked by a colleague “Can aria-current be used on a span?”.

How bad advice gets propagated

My initial response was: aria-current is only exposed on a HTML element with a strong explicit or implicit role. The span element has an implicit role=generic and will be ignored by assistive technology as hinted at in the browser accessibility tree.

As with many of the questions I am asked, the information is used to advise others in the team, and the advice may well result in a specific case of code usage by a client being deemed conforming or failing of a WCAG Success Criterion. It may also be included in more general  Knowledge content we produce. In either scenario, if the advice is incorrect it will have practical impacts.

Check myself

One of the traits I like that I have is, despite doing the job for 20+ years, I still question my own advice and am not afraid to admit I am wrong. After providing the initial advice about aria-current I did what i always advise others to do: I tested it.

Test cases

See the Pen Untitled by steve faulkner (@stevef) on CodePen.


What I found in testing was that contrary to my initial advice, aria-current is exposed in the browser accessibility tree regardless of role (implicit role=generic or explicit role=none)

It is announced by Screen readers such as JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver on the test cases. Try it for yourself. Feedback welcome!


Categories: Development, KnowledgeBase Content, World of Accessibility

About Steve Faulkner

Steve is the Chief Accessibility Officer at TPGi. He joined TPGi in 2006 and was previously a Senior Web Accessibility Consultant at vision australia. Steve is a member of several groups, including the W3C Web Platforms Working Group and the W3C ARIA Working Group. He is an editor of several specifications at the W3C including ARIA in HTML and HTML Accessibility API Mappings 1.0. He also develops and maintains HTML5accessibility and the JAWS bug tracker/standards support.