Oracle Intelligent Advisor Accessibility Improvements in 21C MU1

Building any form of HTML content for Oracle Intelligent Advisor in 2021 should include a review or audit for accessibility. The content created thus should be useable by the largest number of browsers and users, and a disability or requirement to use assistive technologies such as a Screen Reader should not in any way preclude them from obtaining whatever service your interview provides. Still, even today, it is depressing how many organizations large and small simply ignore these requirements even if they are enshrined in national or local law. Anyway, enough of my complaints and on with the good news. Version 21C Monthly Update 1 sees some great, practical improvements to Oracle Intelligent Advisor Accessibility that definitely move in a positive direction.

Firstly a reminder of the sort of thing that you probably have come across (hopefully) in your discussions about Interviews and the HTML output that you provide : the Accessible Rich Internet Applications technical framework, and how it helps make Web content accessible to persons with disabilities. A good place to start is to read the latest ARIA version candidate documentation.

Of the many different parts to ARIA, the most relevant today to this post is the need to make it possible for persons with disabilities who use assistive software to understand and interact with our page. Some of that is undertaken by the browser itself – by providing core support for using the keyboard instead of the mouse, which is one of the core rules of ARIA. Other rules require developers to provide, for example, enough information to assist in the understanding of what actually our HTML is providing to the user. Take for example, a generated link that is actually performing a task like this:

<a href="#" role="button" aria-label="Delete item 1">Delete</a>

The example above is a link but fundamentally it behaves like a button – since it’s job is not to send the user to another page but rather to delete a row of information for example. Screen reader software will interpret the role and the aria-label tags and provide important feedback as to the real purpose or meaning of the HTML tag – something that might be obvious to persons not having any handicap.

The standard User Experience of Oracle Intelligent Advisor takes care of adding the most important ARIA attriibutes without out intervention but what about our custom extensions using the JavaScript API? We need to ensure that our own content is also respecting the ARIA rules.

Two common requirements are to add a role attribute – that describes the semantic meaning / purpose of custom HTML content that would otherwise not be obvious to assistive technology, and the aria-label is used to help assistive software display or read aloud information for the end user. There is a lot more to this (and misusing role is as bad as not using it) so we suggest you dig into the five ARIA rules on this page to get up to speed.

You can use a variety of tools to check and test the accessibility / ARIA content of web pages including AViewer. There are more tools that you will find useful here.

Improvements to Oracle Intelligent Advisor Accessibility - Usng Aviewer with no ARIA attributes

Above you can see Aviewer in action and I am looking at some Oracle Intelligent Advisor JavaScript Extension code and noticing that there is no ARIA role or other attributes. That will need to be fixed, and 21C MU1 has just the solution. Up to now it has been achievable through extra JavaScript code and other hacks so that developers can, most of the time, make sure the necessary attributes have been added. But this has added layers of code and has not made testing the result in automated tools any easier. This new 21C MU1 feature brings the concept “in house” at lets the developer handle it in a more elegant, less clunky way.

The new Improvements to Oracle Intelligent Advisor Accessibility in 21C MU1 allow the developer to use style extensions to add attributes to Oracle Intelligent Advisor Interview content. Here are the list of the things that can now be added:

  • title
  • id
  • role
  • autocomplete
  • aria-live
  • aria-label
  • aria-invalid
  • aria-describedby
  • aria-labelledby
  • aria-required
  • aria-disabled

As well as the ARIA attributes you can also see a couple of others. The ability to override an Id might sound strange but it will be of immense use to anyone who has to use automated testing as part of their Oracle Intelligent Advisor Interview delivery process (that article is the final part of a series about CICD with Oracle Intelligent Advisor that begins here) so that reliable id values can be used in scripting tools such as Selenium WebDriver or similar.

Great stuff from the Oracle Intelligent Advisor team and great reactivity in the face of customer requests for this feature to be implemented. We’ll be returning to this subject in a little while but for now, have a good day!

Author: Richard Napier

Richard Napier joined Siebel Systems in 1999 and took up the role of managing the nascent Siebel University in Southern Europe. He subsequently was Director of Business Development and Education for InFact Group (now part of Business & Decisions) for 8 years. He now runs Intelligent Advisor IT Consulting OÜ. Owner of intelligent-advisor.com, he also is Co-Founder of the Siebel Hub.

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