ARIA: search role

The search landmark role is used to identify a section of the page used to search the page, site, or collection of sites.

<form role="search">
  <!-- search input -->
</form>

Description

The search role is a landmark. Landmarks can be used by assistive technology to quickly identify and navigate to large sections of the document. The search role is added to the container element that encompasses the items and objects that, as a whole, combine to create search functionality. When a <form> is a search form, use the search role instead of form. If a document includes more than one search, each should have a unique label. While there is a input of type search, there is HTML element that defines a search landmark.

Examples

<form id="search" role="search">
  <label for="search-input">Search this site</label>
  <input type="search" id="search-input" name="search" spellcheck="false">
  <input value="Submit" type="submit">
</form>

Accessibility concerns

Landmark roles are intended to be used sparingly, to identify larger overall sections of the document. Using too many landmark roles can create "noise" in screen readers, making it difficult to understand the overall layout of the page.

Best practices

Prefer HTML

Using the <form> element in conjunction with a declaration of role="search" will provide the largest amount of support.

Labeling landmarks

Multiple landmarks

If there is more than one search landmark role in a document, provide a label for each landmark. This label will allow an assitive technology user to be able to quickly understand the purpose of each landmark.

<form id="site-search" role="search" aria-label="Sitewide">
  <!-- search input -->
</form>

...

<form id="page-search" role="search" aria-label="On this page">
  <!-- search input -->
</form>

Repeated landmarks

If a search landmark role in a document is repeated in a document, and both landmarks have identical content, use the same label for each landmark. An example of this would be repeating the sitewide search at the top and bottom of the page.

<header>
  <form id="site-search" role="search" aria-label="Sitewide">
    <!-- search input -->
  </form>
</header>

...

<footer>
  <form id="site-search" role="search" aria-label="Sitewide">
    <!-- search input -->
  </form>
</footer>

Redundant descriptions

Screen readers will announce the type of role the landmark is. Because of this, you do not need to describe what the landmark is in its label. For example, a declaration of role="search" with an of aria-label="Sitewide search" may be announced redundantly as, "sitewide search search".

Added benefits

Certain technologies such as browser extensions can generate lists of all landmark roles present on a page, allowing non-screen reader users to also quickly identify and navigate to large sections of the document.

Specifications

Specification Status
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.1
The definition of 'ARIA search role' in that specification.
Recommendation
WAI-ARIA Authoring Practices
The definition of 'ARIA search role' in that specification.
Working Draft

Screen reader support

TBD

See also