In a recent audit of a Drupal 8 site, I came across the “Redundant WAI-ARIA attribute” issue being flagged in *SiteImprove. It was present on each one of the site’s pages, and thus was having a significant effect on the score.  

It was flagging the redundancy of using WAI-ARIA tags in conjunction with HTML 5 elements. Specifically, it was flagging the following 3 examples:

<nav role= “navigation”>…</nav>

<main role= “main”>…</main>

<article role= “article”> </article>

The issue SiteImprove has is that the “role” is redundant and provides no additional information to the screen reader user, so it is only bloating code

In previous versions of the WCAG recommendations, this redundancy was the preferred way of dealing with HTML 5 elements, such as nav, main, and article, because most screen readers did not support HTML 5. However, as most screen readers and browsers have now transitioned to fully support HTML 5, this is no longer necessary

Thus, the Drupal Core contributors should begin taking the necessary steps to patch this redundancy issue. However, it doesn’t seem to have made its way into production code quite yet.

My personal issue is that SiteImprove is flagging this as a level A issue (more information on what these conformance levels mean). This typically means that the issue is an extremely high priority.  

However, in this case, the end-user is not being impacted. This is more of an issue of code bloat, rather than negatively impact a user’s experience on the site. Thus it feels like it is more suited for a different WCAG conformance level such as AAA.  

Verdict: Don’t ignore it, but don’t prioritize fixing it above other issues of “A” conformance level.

*Siteimprove is a popular proprietary software used by many institutions, in higher education, as well as in other industries. It routinely crawls the desired site and provides information such as web accessibility issues, spelling errors, and broken links.