Nathan Knowler

Meter and progress elements in Safari

Date: November 1, 2021

On the weekend, I wrote some cross-browser styles for an HTML meter element. The biggest difference was between Firefox and Chrome/Safari — I’ll spare the details. There was a slight difference between Safari and Chrome which required me to set -webkit-appearance: none for Safari to override any of the browser styles, immediately followed by appearance: meter for Chrome. Safari doesn’t support the latter rule. When all was done, I was pretty satisfied and began some cross-browser testing.

After a visual test, I went on to using screen readers. That’s when I noticed an issue in Safari: the element seemed to be completely ignored. Upon further investigation, I discovered that the element didn’t have an implicit ARIA role in the accessibility details of Safari’s Web Inspector. The first thing I did was remove the -webkit-appearance: none rule to set it back to its default state to see if Safari set it in the first place. This resolved the issue; the implicit role was now meter as it should be. After reintroducing that rule, then changing the value to meter, auto, etc. then back to none, it became clear that none was the offending value.

I checked what effect -webkit-appearance: none had on other elements with implicit ARIA roles and the only two elements affected by the bug were <meter> and <progress>. I filed the bug report for WebKit this morning.


Until this bug is fixed, if you want to have visually consistent meters and progress bars, and not break accessibility in Safari, you should not use <meter> or <progress>. Instead use the meter and progressbar roles, along with the appropriate ARIA attributes to implement your own.