HTML address element accessibility

Description

HTML <address> element is introduced way back in the HTML 3. As per the HTML living standard, address element is to be used to provide the contact information for author/owner of document or article. For example, when added to an article, the address element provides contact information for the article author, and when added to a web page footer the address identifies contact information for the web page owner.

Contact information can be email address, physical location, website address, phone number. Address block cannot be used for arbitrary addresses and this is better explained in the author notes section of this blog post. As this is the standard, it is common that authors tend to use address element for such purposes. When author uses address element for such purposes then they may think it provides certain semantical information to assistive technology users. unfortunately, however, it is not the case and no screen readers provide semantical information to the users as of now. On other hand, voice over on iPhone/mac conveys as content information landmark semantics when address tag is used, and this is completely incorrect announcement/semantics. The bug is already filed on the same in the voice over WebKit Bugzilla.

Having said that, what announcement/semantics need to convey to the screen reader users when developer uses address tag. Answer is I don’t know. I am probably thinking that screen readers provide additional verbose like address along with the actual address whenever address block is used by developer. Since address block is not really adding any meaning to the assistive technology users and on top of that, it is creating problem to the voice over users, authors might think that it is not useful and may avoid using this all together. However, I am completely against to this. I would suggest that  authors need to add the address tag as per the standards to avoid the unknown complications and do certain work around(like add presentational role) for the voice over users to provide the best experience.

Author notes

  • <address> element should be used for the contact information relevant to the current site, page, document, section, or article. It should not be used to identify addresses in any other context.
  • Author should not include a postal address in the address block if it is NOT contact information. So, for example, if you have a real estate website, and you’re listing information about available houses, the address of a house listing should not be in the address block

Sample code snippet

  <address>

    You can contact author at <a href=”http://www.sumandamera.com/contact”>

    www.sumandamera.com</a>.<br>

    If you see any issues , please <a href=”mailto: sumandaa@gmail.com”>

    Email us</a>.<br>

    You may also want to visit us:<br>

    Suman Damera Pvt Ltd<br>

Nizampet<br>

        Hyderabad, , Telangana, 500090<br>

India

  </address>

Complementary info on <address> element

There is a reason why voice over is announcing <address> element as content info. The reason is that <address> element is mapped to ARIA content info landmark in the past in the  HTML AAM and therefore, apple treated this as content info landmark. To know more about this, please visit  HTML AAM GitHub. Later, HTML AAM for <address> element is updated with none of ARIA roles. To know more about this, please visit HTML AAM <address> element latest specification/edition.

References

HTML living standard: address element

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