The aria-roledescription attribute defines a human-readable, author-localized description for the role of an element.


Some assistive technologies (AT), such as screen readers, present the role of an element as part of the user experience. The aria-roledescription attribute provides a way to define a different human-readable name to be presented by AT as the role of an element.

Note: Only use aria-roledescription to clarify the purpose of non-interactive container roles and to provide a more specific description to a widget.

Users depend on the presentation of known role name to understand the the purpose of the element and, if it is a widget, how to interact with it. So, only use aria-roledescription to clarify the purpose of non-interactive container roles like group or region and to provide a more specific description to a widget.

The aria-roledescription property overrides how ATs localize and express the name of a role. When you override a role name the user understands, you can potentially negatively impact a users' ability to understand and interact with an element.

Avoid using the aria-roledescription attribute. When a use case appears special worthy of a unique roledescription, the interactions can often times be broken down into smaller pieces that have relevant roles.

When there are no semantic or ARIA widget roles that correspond to the interaction model of your widget, use role="application", provide an aria-roledescription with a human-readable, author-localized customized role name, and use aria-describedby to provide user instructions.

ATs may customize and localize the names of ARIA roles. If you are using aria-roledescription to change how the role name is presented to the user, remember to handle localization. The value should be translated when a page is localized.

Changing how the role is presented to the user has no impact on the functionality of the element. For example, if an element has a role of region or button when AT provides functions for navigating to the next region or button, if you set the aria-roledescription to continent and escape respectively, the AT will still allow those functions to navigate to regions and buttons.

Again, avoid using aria-roledescription. In this example, escape has no relevant meaning to the user, but button with "escape" as a label does.

When using aria-roledescription, also ensure that the element to which it is applied has a valid ARIA role or has implicit role semantics and that the value itself is not empty and contains more than just whitespace characters.

The aria-roledescription is required when using aria-brailleroledescription. Note that, in general, aria-brailleroledescription should only be used in rare cases when a aria-roledescription is excessively verbose when rendered in Braille.


The following example shows the use of aria-roledescription to indicate that a non-interactive container is a "slide" in a web-based presentation application.

<div role="article" aria-roledescription="slide" id="slide" aria-labelledby="slideheading">
<h1 id="slideheading">Quarterly Report</h1>
<!-- remaining slide contents -->

In the previous examples, a screen reader user may hear "Quarterly Report, slide" rather than the less precise "Quarterly Report, article".



A non-empty string, an unconstrained value type,containing more than just white space.



The ariaRoleDescription property, part of the Element interface, reflects the value of the aria-roledescription attribute.


The ariaRoleDescription property, part of the ElementInternals interface, reflects the value of the aria-roledescription attribute.

Associated roles

Supported by all roles and by all base markup elements except for role="generic".


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

See Also