aria-multiselectable

The aria-multiselectable attribute indicates that the user may select more than one item from the current selectable descendants.

Description

The default behavior of selection lists, such as <select>, is to be able to choose only one item or option. By default or by convention, when a user is presented with list from which they must select an item, they assume they can only select a single item unless otherwise notified. The aria-multiselectable attribute is the way to inform assistive technology users that they may select more than one item from the current selectable items if they so choose. Lists and trees are examples of roles that might allow users to select more than one item at a time.

Note: When allowing for multiple selections, inform the user that multiple values are allowed and provide directions on how to provide multiple values, such as "to select more than one value, keep the control key pressed during selection."

Used with aria-selected

When the user does select one or more items, remember to set the selected descendants as selected with aria-selected="true", and selectable descendants that are not selected have aria-selected="false" set. If an element is not selectable, omit the aria-selected attribute altogether as its presence informs the user the item is selectable.

If a tree, grid, tab list, or list box supports selection of more than one node, the element with role grid, listbox, tablist, or tree has aria-multiselectable set to true. Otherwise, aria-multiselectable is either set to false or the default value of false is implied.

Example

<p>
  Choose the colors for your flag.
</p>
<ul
    tabindex="0"
    role="listbox"
    aria-labelledby="colorOptions"
    aria-multiselectable="true">
  <li id="red"
      role="option"
      aria-selected="false">
    Red
  </li>
  <li id="orange"
      role="option"
      aria-selected="false">
    Orange
  </li>
  <li id="yellow"
      role="option"
      aria-selected="false">
    Yellow
  </li>
  <li id="green"
      role="option"
      aria-selected="false">
    Green
  </li>
  <li id="blue"
      role="option"
      aria-selected="false">
    Blue
  </li>
  <li id="purple"
      role="option"
      aria-selected="false">
    Purple
  </li>
  <li id="magenta"
      role="option"
      aria-selected="false">
    Hot pink
  </li>
  <li id="lightpink"
      role="option"
      aria-selected="true">
    Light pink
  </li>
  <li id="white"
      role="option"
      aria-selected="true">
    White
  </li>
  <li id="lightblue"
      role="option"
      aria-selected="true">
    Light blue
  </li>
  <li id="black"
      role="option"
      aria-selected="false">
    Black
  </li>
  <li id="brown"
      role="option"
      aria-selected="false">
    Brown
  </li>
</ul>

This listbox supports multiple selection so we set the element with role listbox with aria-multiselectable="true". All selected options have aria-selected set to true. All options that are not selected but are selectable have aria-selected set to false. Had we included options that were disabled or otherwise not selectable, we would have omitted the aria-selected attribute altogether. Including the attribute, even with no value or explcitly set to false indicates to assistive technology users that the item is selectable.

The first rule of ARIA use is "if you can use a native feature with the semantics and behavior you require already built in, instead of repurposing an element and adding an ARIA role, state or property to make it accessible, then do so." Instead of creating an unordered list requiring tabindex, ARIA and JavaScript to turn text into selectable options, we could have used a native multiselect: the <select> element has a Boolean multiple attribute. If included, the user can select multiple options. If not, only a single option can be selected.

<label for="flagcolors">
  Choose the colors for your flag.
</label>
<select multiple id="flagcolors">
  <option value="red">Red</option>
  <option value="orange">Orange</option>
  <option value="yellow">Yellow</option>
  <option value="green">Green</option>
  <option value="blue">Blue</option>
  <option value="purple">Purple</option>
  <option value="magenta">Hot pink</option>
  <option value="lightpink" selected>Light pink</option>
  <option value="white" selected>White</option>
  <option value="lightblue" selected>Light blue</option>
  <option value="black">Black</option>
  <option value="brown">Brown</option>
</select>

This HTML <select> version is accessibile and interactive, and needs no ARIA or JavaScript to function.

If the above isn't styleable to your liking, you can also create a list of selectable options with HTML checkboxes, which is also semantic, focusable, and infinitely stylable with CSS:

<fieldset>
  <legend>Choose the colors for your flag.</legend>
  <ul>
    <li>
      <label><input type="checkbox" name="fc" value="red">Red</label>
    </li>
    <li>
      <label><input type="checkbox" name="fc" value="orange">Orange</label>
    </li>
    <li>
      <label><input type="checkbox" name="fc" value="yellow">Yellow</label>
    </li>
    <li>
      <label><input type="checkbox" name="fc" value="green">Green</label>
    </li>
    <li>
      <label><input type="checkbox" name="fc" value="blue">Blue</label>
    </li>
    <li>
      <label><input type="checkbox" name="fc" value="purple">Purple</label>
    </li>
    <li>
      <label><input type="checkbox" name="fc" value="magenta">Hot pink</label>
    </li>
    <li>
      <label><input type="checkbox" name="fc" value="lightpink" checked>Light pink</label>
    </li>
    <li>
      <label><input type="checkbox" name="fc" value="white" checked>White</label>
    </li>
    <li>
      <label><input type="checkbox" name="fc" value="lightblue" checked>Light blue</label>
    </li>
    <li>
      <label><input type="checkbox" name="fc" value="black">Black</label>
    </li>
    <li>
      <label><input type="checkbox" name="fc" value="brown">Brown</label>
    </li>
  </ul>
</fieldset>

Instead of aria-selected="true", include the checked attribute. The browser does the rest.

Values

  • true
    • : More than one item in the widget may be selected at a time
  • false
    • : Only one item can be selected

ARIAMixin API

Element.ariaMultiSelectable

The ariaMultiSelectable property, part of the Element interface, reflects the value of the aria-multiselectable attribute.

ElementInternals.ariaMultiSelectable

The ariaMultiSelectable property, part of the ElementInternals interface, reflects the value of the aria-multiselectable attribute.

Associated roles

Used in roles:

Inherited into roles:

Specifications

Specification Status
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.1
The definition of 'ARIA: aria-multiselectable Attribute' in that specification.
Recommendation

See Also