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Accessibility is one of the plan items for 0.5.

With that in mind, here's some homework and light reading to get everybody on the same page.

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, "How do 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. Refer to Wikipedia's Table of Keyboard Shortcuts and external links if necessary. 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.


Read up on WAI-ARIA.

Make sure the user can navigate to every focusable control or item with the keyboard. Read section 3.1.2 and 3.1.3 and section 3.2.1 of the "ARIA Authoring Practices" doc.

Follow the ARIA Design Patterns when you are creating custom controls like the tree, breadcrumb, or toolbar.

Here is an ARIA Role, State, and Property Quick Reference.

Here's the full ARIA specification.

For examples of ARIA in Orion, search for aria- or role= in the code.

HTML5 and ARIA landmark roles

This Orion bug discusses HTML5 section elements and ARIA landmark roles, and this ARIA Landmark Roles blog post has further discussion.

Browser Accessibility and Keyboard Shortcuts

Screen Readers and other Assistive Technologies


  • AccProbe for Firefox and Chrome, or Inspect (available with Windows SDK) for IE

When Windows 8 comes out (October?) you will be able to use the built-in screen reader called Narrator for testing accessibility in IE (but not in Firefox or Chrome).


  • Inspect Objects (installed with Xcode). Note: with Xcode 4.3, you need to use Xcode->Open Developer Tool->More Developer Tools...



ChromeVox for Chrome browsers on all OS platforms

Orion Documentation

Accessible documentation includes making sure that the 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 context. For example, here are HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text alternatives.

Other Web Accessibility Links

  • The ARIA wiki is still being developed, but it has some good resources.
  • The Free ARIA email list can answer tough questions that google search can't answer.
  • WebAIM is a good web accessibility resource with articles and links to other resources.
  • 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.


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.

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