Open UI Automation (OUIA) 1.0-RC


Key Value
Status Draft
Authors Pete Savage, Karel Hala, Ronny Pfannschmidt
Current Version 1.0-RC


This specification is designed to promote certain key guidelines to follow when creating a new web framework or application. Its goal is to ease the burden of individuals wishing to create and maintain automated testing environments.

The OUIA is composed of multiple sections. An element of an app/framework can be said to be compliant with either all of the specification or one or more of its parts. As such it is defined as a composable specification. The reason for this is largely due to the prevalent demarcation between responsibilities of framework and application developers. For instance an application may use a particular web framework and be unable to negotiate compliance of that framework with OUIA. However they may choose to make the elements that they do have control over fully compliant with the OUIA.


The key words “MUST”, “MUST NOT”, “REQUIRED”, “SHALL”, “SHALL NOT”, “SHOULD”, “SHOULD NOT”, “RECOMMENDED”, “MAY”, and “OPTIONAL” in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.


  • All HTML elements created for the sole purpose of fulfilling or augmenting this specification MUST be prefixed with ouia. Currently there are no custom HTML elements defined.
  • All custom HTML attributes to be applied to existing HTML elements MUST be prefixed with data-ouia.
  • All additional attributes to existing Javascript objects MUST be prefixed with ouia.

Specification Parts

The OUIA specification is split up into several sections. As stated, an application or framework can implement any number of the specification parts, but each section must be implemented completely. Thus a project can be said to be OUIA:Component or OUIA:Page compliant, as opposed to being completely OUIA compliant, but ALL components of the OUIA:Component part MUST be adhered to.

The following blocks exist in the specification:

  • OUIA:Component - components and component frameworks
  • OUIA:Page - page identification
  • OUIA:PageSafe - interaction safety


This part is designed to cover components in use on pages. Components that are OUIA:Component compliant MUST have the following properties.

  • A root level HTML element with a data-ouia-component-type attribute describing a unique name identifying ALL HTML components that can be controlled with the same code or interactions. These identifiers MAY and SHOULD be namespaced when used within a framework, particularly when the name is generic. The delimiter between namespace and type name should be a single / character.
    • e.g. A page that has a special dropdown could choose to name that dropdown as FrameworkA/CustomDropdown. All instances of this FrameworkA/CustomDropdown component MUST be expected to be able to be controlled via the same automation.
  • An id attribute called data-ouia-component-id
    • if there is only one instance of the component on the page at once, it is OPTIONAL
    • if there are multiple instances of a component on the page it MUST be used
    • it MUST be unique within the surrounding context of the component (context may be a surrounding component or collection)
    • e.g. A vertical navigation can be expected to only be instantiated once on a page. As such it does not need any other identifying factors. Another component type, like a button, would be created multiple times on a page and requires some kind of unique identifying id.
    • e.g. An list of items could have tags associated with them. These could be presented in a tabular format. Whilst the ids of those tags could be identical, they are also contained in rows that make them contextually different. An alternative to this is that the id could be prefixed with the item id that it is related to, to create a compound id.
  • An attribute called data-ouia-safe, which is True only when the component is in a static state, i.e. no animations are occurring. At all other times, this value MUST be False.


This part is designed to cover page identification. Pages that are OUIA:Page compliant MUST have the following properties:

  • A <body> html tag with the following attributes:
    • A data-ouia-page-type attribute, which determines the base context of the page.
      • e.g. A page listing some inventory of food items could have food as its data-ouia-page-type attribute.
    • A data-ouia-page-action attribute, which determines if the page has a controller associated with it to perform a specific action. This is OPTIONAL if the page does not describe a specific action, or is a single action screen displaying information only.
      • e.g. A page providing the edit action of an inventory item could have an edit value for the data-ouia-page-action attribute. Whereas a modal about page would not need an data-ouia-page-action attribute.
    • A page which dynamically changes action without a page reload MUST correctly update the data-ouia-page-type and data-ouia-page-action attributes if the context of the page changes.
    • An OPTIONAL data-ouia-page-object-id attribute, where the page is in the context of a specific instance of an object. E.g. A page describing a food item that is being edited, could have an data-ouia-page-object-id field of 142526.
  • Each of the four main content areas present on the page, Header, Main, Navigation, Footer, MUST be embellished with the corresponding data attribute to aid in finding components within certain areas.
    • data-ouia-header="true" - For the header
    • data-ouia-footer="true" - For the footer
    • data-ouia-main="true" - For the main content pane
    • data-ouia-navigation="true" - For the main navigation pane
    • Header, Footer and Main MUST NOT ever be nested inside each other.
    • Navigation MAY live inside any of the other content areas but must appear only once.
  • All links appearing inside the Navigation content pane MUST specify the href attribute with a valid URL to the target, and in addition MUST also include a data-ouia-navigation-name which identifies the name of the navigation link to aid in building a site map.
  • All other links which are considered top level navigational, i.e. they force a page reload/load, MUST also be defined with hidden links inside the Navigation pane to aid in site map creation.
    • e.g. <a href="/settings" data-ouia-navigation-name="Settings" hidden="true"/>
  • If OUIA attributes are not enabled by default there SHOULD be an HTML local storage variable ouia:enabled, to enable the usage of these attributes. Such action MAY incur a page restart.

Example of OUIA:Page

A page describing the edit action of a food item with the id 142526 could have an attribute looking like <body data-ouia-page-type="food" data-ouia-page-action="edit" data-ouia-page-object-id="142526">


  • An attribute named data-ouia-page-safe which declares whether the page is safe to access. This should represent the state of all data-ouia-safe attributes as well as:
    • Page animations
    • XHR requests
    • Any other operations which affect the DOM structure
  • This should take the form of a Boolean, but the specification does not impose a specific implementation.


An example page that fully complies with the OUIA is presented here

Declaration of Conformity

A project wishing to declare its conformity SHOULD use one of the supplied badges, or in the case that the entire spec has been conformed to in its entirety should proudly display the overall compliance badge.

Compliance Badge

Component Compliance Badge

Page Compliance Badge

Page Safe Compliance Badge



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.