Status of Combobox Role

This does not seem to be be well-implemented at the moment (May 2012). In the best case we tested, the only advantage of the ARIA markup was that some configurations called the control a 'combobox' and provided instructions.

The instructions were somewhat misleading for the particular case we were testing. In our example, the auto suggestions only appear after you start typing. But, as soon as the user reaches the control, JAWS indicates, "To set the value, use the arrow keys or type the value," .

Worst case was as bad it could get, a browser crash! Certainly, this must be some combination of the markup, the browser, the screen reader and the JavaScript. Further investigation into the exact cause is still needed.

Note on Reading Order

For all test pages below, the list of options appears right after the textbox in the reading order. This is important to support older configurations (& less robust configurations) and for when users switch the screen reading modes.

Actual Tests

Exploring Workarounds

These use aria-live for an addition to the label when the listbox appears.

So far, we haven't see any difference between aria-live="assertive" and aria-live="polite".

The test page below is similar to the pages above, but uses the role of alert instead of using aria-live directly. I've posted it here so that we can test to see if it works better on configurations with less-robust ARIA implementations.

This page doesn't happen to have the escape coding, so only tab gets you out of the control.