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Enhancing Web Accessibility: aria-busy


Web accessibility is a fundamental aspect of modern web development, ensuring that websites are usable and inclusive for all users, regardless of their abilities. Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) is a set of attributes that can be applied to HTML elements to enhance the accessibility of web content. Among these attributes, aria-busy plays a crucial role in providing feedback to users during dynamic content updates.

Understanding aria-busy:

aria-busy is an ARIA attribute designed to indicate when an element is in a process of being loaded or modified. It helps in conveying to assistive technologies and users that changes are occurring on the page, thereby allowing them to understand and adapt to the evolving content.

Basic Usage:

In this example, the aria-busy attribute is set to “true” to indicate that the content within the div is currently undergoing changes.

Best Practices for Using aria-busy:

1. Use aria-busy with Live Regions:

When dynamically updating content, it’s essential to use ARIA live regions in conjunction with aria-busy. Live regions, identified by the aria-live attribute, notify assistive technologies about changes in content. By combining aria-live with aria-busy, you provide a more comprehensive and accessible experience.

In this example, the aria-live attribute is set to “assertive,” ensuring that assistive technologies immediately announce changes in the content of the div.

2. Dynamically Manage aria-busy State:

Update the aria-busy state dynamically to reflect the current status of the content. This is particularly useful when working with asynchronous operations, such as fetching data from an API.

// JavaScript code to dynamically manage aria-busy state const dynamicContentDiv = document.getElementById(‘dynamicContent’); // Set aria-busy to true when starting an asynchronous operation dynamicContentDiv.setAttribute(‘aria-busy’, ‘true’); // Perform asynchronous operation fetchDataFromAPI().then(data => { // Update the content // Set aria-busy to false when the operation is complete dynamicContentDiv.setAttribute(‘aria-busy’, ‘false’); });

By dynamically updating the aria-busy attribute, you ensure that assistive technologies receive accurate information about the content’s loading status.

3. Provide Descriptive Text:

When using aria-busy, include descriptive text within the updated content or in an adjacent element. This text helps users, especially those using screen readers, understand the nature of the changes occurring on the page.

Loading content…

In this example, the descriptive text “Loading content…” gives users additional information about the ongoing changes.

4. Combine aria-busy with aria-atomic:

In scenarios where multiple updates occur simultaneously, using aria-atomic alongside aria-busy ensures that assistive technologies present the changes as a whole, preventing fragmented announcements.

Setting aria-atomic to “true” indicates that the entire content within the div should be considered a single, cohesive update.


Implementing ARIA attributes, such as aria-busy, is a crucial step toward creating a more inclusive web environment. By following best practices and using appropriate code samples, developers can enhance the accessibility of their web applications, ensuring that users of all abilities have a seamless and meaningful experience. Incorporating ARIA live regions, dynamic state management, descriptive text, and combining attributes like aria-atomic contribute to a comprehensive approach to web accessibility. As we continue to advance in web development, prioritizing accessibility becomes not just a responsibility but a key element in creating a digital landscape that is open and usable for everyone.