Thank you to Caleb Tang, Kath Moonan, Veronika Jermolina for inviting me to speak at their Mobile Inclusive Design event in London last night, held by the Usability Experience Professional’s Association. It was a lovely crowd and good to see some old faces.Continue Reading Mobile UX 4 Accessibility – UXPA meetup slides
Good news for mobile voice output users as this week the guys over at Mozilla released further accessibility enhancements for Firefox in a nightly build. In addition to this Chrome was released into the Apple App store and also comes with accessibility baked in complementing it’s counterpart on Android which also recently became more accessible.Continue Reading Accessible Firefox and Chrome on Android and iOS
There are a few fundamental checks you can run on mobile web content and native apps to test screen reader support on mobile. The good news is that while there are clearly some differences the key principles of web accessibility on the desktop are true also for the mobile. This applies to the mobile web, web apps and native apps.
Testing your content on mobile need not be as painful as you think. If you have an Android and iOS device then you already either have a free mobile screen reader in your pocket or it’s a short download away. This is a quick guide to get you set up.Continue Reading Talk is cheap – screen reader testing on mobile
We can’t all get access to a screen reader better yet find the time to tame them so here is a quick tip on how to test how well your web content supports screen reader users. All you need is a browser, a plugin and 5 minutes.Continue Reading Quick tip: testing web content for screen readers without a screen reader
I’ve been playing around with ways of expanding abbreviated text on mobile using both <abbr> and <span> specifically to see how well supported voice output is. I ran a few mobile browsers and voice output software over a test case for abbr and span listing abbreviated days of the week using <abbr>, <span> and as is (i.e. Mon, Tue etc).
The results in the table below lists what is ‘spoken’ by each browser / voice output pairing:
|Mobile Safari / iOS VoiceOver||Opera Mini / iOS VoiceOver||Opera Mini / Android / Talkback||Android/ Talkback||Android/ IDEAL Web Reader||Nokia/ Talks|
|Uncoded||Monday, Tuesday, Wed, Thursday, Friday, Sat, Sun||NA||NA||NA||Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun||Mon, Tuesday, Wed, Thursday, Friday, Sat, Sun|
|ABBR||Monday, Tuesday, Wed, Thursday, Friday, Sat, Sun||NA||NA||NA||Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun||Mon, Tuesday, Wed, Thursday, Friday, Sat, Sun|
|Span||Monday, Tuesday, Wed, Thursday, Friday, Sat, Sun||NA||NA||NA||Mon, day, Tuesday, sday, Wed, nesday, Thursday, rsday, Friday, day, Sat, urday, Sun, day||Mon, day, Tuesday, sday, Wed, nesday, Thursday, rsday, Friday, day, Sat, urday, Sun, day|
Note: Android’s browser and Talkback (from the Google EyesFree Project run by TV Raman) still don’t support ‘web view’ so was not included in the test case. Equally, Opera Mini does not support speech output either on iOS with VoiceOver or Android with Talkback so was not included. I will revisit this if things change. The IDEAL Web Reader is a self voicing browser available for free on in the Android Market place.
- It looks like text-to-speech (TTS) engines for VoiceOver and Talks expand words they know (i.e. Mon to Monday) but ignore text that are words in their own right (i.e. wed, sat, sun). Nuance, the speech engine for VoiceOver, has the strongest support for automatically expanding words whereas the Nokia TTS has slight inconsistencies.
- <abbr> and <span> don’t seem to be supported by mobile Safari, the IDEAL Web Browser or the Nokia browser as all three failed to expand the days of the week that were not already expanded by TTS.
- Using <span> results in the hidden text being read out in addition to the long and short forms of the days of the week.
If looking for a solution that works seamlessly across desktop and mobile browsers it looks like <abbr> and <span> is not it. What works best for screen readers on desktop browsers is <span> however this seems to have the worst support on mobile.
At least two screen reader users (@blindgeek and @kirankaja12) have mentioned that TTS expanding text can be quite annoying, presumably because it gets things wrong and confused. As a developer I’m not sure there is much that can be done about it especially given it can not be over ridden with <abbr> or <span>. The best advice is to avoid abbreviations where possible and keep written text plain and simple on mobile,