Testing Orion Accessibility
A great accessibility test is to put your mouse (and/or trackpad) out of reach and just use the keyboard for a while. Every time you find yourself reaching for your visual pointing device, stop and think, "Can I do this with the keyboard"? Need a menu? Type Alt. Context menu? Shift+F10. List of keyboard commands in Orion? Shift+? (or Alt+Shift+? from within the editor). Every platform and every browser has a set of keyboard shortcuts. For platform shortcuts, check out Wikipedia's Table of Keyboard Shortcuts. For browser-specific shortcuts, see the list below. If you can't figure out how to do something with the keyboard in Orion, then maybe that something needs to be fixed. If an important function takes too many keystrokes, maybe a key binding - or a refactoring - is needed.
After you become more proficient with keyboard navigation, start testing with a screen reader. Learn some of the screen reader's keyboard commands. Try listening without looking at the monitor. Think you've got the keyboard aced? Turn off your monitor and see if you can last more than 30 seconds before turning it back on.
Browser Accessibility and Keyboard Shortcuts
- Firefox on all platforms
Screen Readers and other Assistive Technologies
- JAWS (search page for Free Demo, which runs 40 minutes then needs reboot) (JAWS Documentation and JAWS Screen Reader Modes)
- NVDA (free, but requests donation) (NVDA Documentation and 2 good articles on using NVDA to test web applications in Firefox: Marco's NVDA Overview and WebAIM NVDA Overview)
- Narrator for IE10 in Windows 8 (but not Firefox or Chrome).
- Inspector tools, such as AccProbe for Firefox and Chrome, or Inspect (available with Windows SDK) for IE
- Inspect Objects (installed with Xcode). Note: with Xcode 4.3, you need to use
Xcode->Open Developer Tool->More Developer Tools...
- ChromeVox screen reader for Chrome browsers on all OS platforms
- ChromeShades for Chrome browsers shows you what a screen reader would see
Accessible documentation includes making sure that the written text can stand alone without the images. If images are used to convey meaning, then suitable replacement text needs to be supplied. Alternative text for an image in a wiki follows a vertical bar typed after the image file name, for example: [[Image:Orion-myimage.png|My Alternative Text]]. Exactly what the alternative text should say depends on the context. For example, here are HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text alternatives.
Make sure that links have meaningful text. Link text for a link in a wiki follows a space after the link url, for example: [http://www.google.com Google]. Avoid using words like here and here and here and more... and more... as link text because screen reader users rely on the link text to tell them what the link is for.
The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative is the overarching body that publishes the standards and guidelines for web accessibility.
Follow the ARIA Design Patterns when you are creating custom controls like a dialog, tree, breadcrumb, or toolbar.
Here is an ARIA Role, State, and Property Quick Reference.
For examples of ARIA in Orion, search for
role= in the code.
HTML5 and ARIA landmark roles
Web Accessibility Links
- The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are the standard guidelines for web accessibility.
- The Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) specification.
- WAI-ARIA Authoring Practices is an excellent best practices guide.
- The ARIA wiki is still being developed, but it has some good resources.
- Free ARIA is an email list that can answer tough questions that google search can't answer.
- The IBM web accessibility checklist and IBM document accessibility checklist are both excellent resources providing many examples of ways to improve accessibility.
- WebAIM is a good web accessibility resource with articles and links to other resources.
- WebAxe is a web accessibility blog and podcast with news and practical tips.
- A List Apart is a good website containing many articles on web accessibility.
- The Paciello Group is a good website containing a web accessibility blog and other resources.
- Simply Accessible is a good website containing many articles on web accessibility.
- Accessibility with ChromeVox is a good overview talk on web accessibility.
Tips of the day
Orion committer Carolyn MacLeod wrote a very useful series of "tip of the day" messages that are a great place to get started with writing accessible web UIs.
- Whenever possible, use semantically appropriate HTML elements
- Add or augment the semantics of HTML elements with WAI-ARIA
- Every focusable element needs a name
- Use HTML5 section elements and ARIA landmark roles to semantically organize pages
- More on role="application", role="document" and role="presentation"
Orion is an open source project. Testing, bug filing/triage, documentation and code contributions to the accessibility support are very welcome and greatly appreciated.
When you run into an issue, check the Orion accessibility bug list.
If your issue isn't in the list, file an Orion accessibility bug.
If you know how to fix it, please submit a patch.