aria-controls

The global aria-controls property identifies the element (or elements) whose contents or presence are controlled by the element on which this attribute is set.

Description

When an interactive widget or element, be it a combobox, tab, button, etc., is used to adjust or modify another element or component in a document or application, the aria-controls attribute can be used to programmatically associate the corresponding element or elements the controlling element. The aria-controls attribute identifies the element (or elements) whose contents or presence are controlled by the element on which the attribute is set, regardless of what type of interaction initiates the impacted behavior.

A combobox element has aria-controls set to a value that refers to the element that serves as the popup. The aria-controls only needs to be set when the popup is visible, but it is valid and easier to program to reference an element that is not visible.

Other examples of controls include:

  • The button parts of an accordion widget that toggle the visibility of their associated panel content. Each button may have an aria-controls specified, referencing the ID of the element containing the content associated with the invoking control.
  • An element with a role of scrollbar: the scrollbar requires an aria-controls attribute referencing the ID of the element it controls.
  • A group of tabs that each display a different tab panel: each element with role="tab" has an aria-controls attribute referencing its associated tabpanel.

Example

In this tabs example, each tab controls one tabpanel:

<div class="tab-interface">
  <div role="tablist" aria-label="Sample Tabs">
    <span
      role="tab"
      aria-selected="true"
      aria-controls="panel-1"
      id="tab-1"
      tabindex="0">
      First Tab
    </span>
    <span
      role="tab"
      aria-selected="false"
      aria-controls="panel-2"
      id="tab-2"
      tabindex="-1">
      Second Tab
    </span>
    <span
      role="tab"
      aria-selected="false"
      aria-controls="panel-3"
      id="tab-3"
      tabindex="-1">
      Third Tab
    </span>
  </div>
  <div id="panel-1" role="tabpanel" tabindex="0" aria-labelledby="tab-1">
    <p>Content for the first panel</p>
  </div>
  <div id="panel-2" role="tabpanel" tabindex="0" aria-labelledby="tab-2" class="display-none">
    <p>Content for the second panel</p>
  </div>
  <div id="panel-3" role="tabpanel" tabindex="0" aria-labelledby="tab-3" class="display-none">
    <p>Content for the third panel</p>
  </div>
</div>

Note: ARIA only modifies the accessibility tree for an element, identifying how assistive technology can present the content to users. ARIA doesn't change any implicit functionality or styling.

Values

id list

Space separated list of one or more ID values referencing the elements being controlled by the current element

ARIAMixin API

Element.ariaBusy

The ariaControls property, part of the ARIAMixin interface, reflects the value of the aria-controls attribute, which indicates whether an element is being modified.

Associated roles

Used in ALL roles.

Specifications

Specification
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA)
# aria-controls

See Also