This post originally appeared on the Yahoo! Accessibility blog.
Building accessible websites often means looking at how a widget functions and not what it looks like. We can always use CSS to change the look of a tool, but you can't always make the wrong elements work correctly.
Thierry Koblentz's article Developing an Accessible Star Ratings Widget for the Yahoo! Developer Network looks at the various rating widgets on the internet. He looks at how users can rate an article and the best way to display the aggregated rating.
Thierry found a wide variety of techniques for displaying ratings. Unfortunately, they fail one or more key accessibility tests.
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You might think that most rating systems would be based on some markup proven to be semantic and "operational" across many User Agents that is, that rating systems would be based on a specific set of HTML elements and attributes to which