Using screen readers to evaluate the compatibility of a website

24 September 2021

Using screen readers to evaluate the compatibility of a website

Blogs and articles discuss testing with a screen reader as being a vitally important part of creating accessible digital experiences. But these same blogs and articles jump into which commands to use in the screen reader and not necessarily what to test or how to interpret the results. It's a little like baking a cake, where you have the ingredients but not the instructions

A structured approach towards screen reader testing means where time is often limited, our efforts are focused on the critical parts of the digital experience. The things which users will use and interact with rather than the static components like headings and lists which are picked up earlier in the development cycle.

This approach is ultimately compatibility testing. It's identifying whether unusual behaviour identified in one browser and screen reader combination is due to poor coding practice or a quirk of the combination. It's confirming, if it's coded correctly and tested comprehensively against all the combinations potential problems can be escalated or ignored. We're not chasing our tail fixing behaviour in one combination which is a quirk and not a legitimate bug.

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