Matching modern browsers with modern screen-readers

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As Webdragon has described in the past, accessibility often gets left behind in the race for newer web technology.

In the past couple of years web browser development has been accelerating at a rate of knots. This huge rate of acceleration can create problems for people who rely on assistive technology like screen-readers to access the web. Previously Webdragon has talked about some of the accessibility issues with new HTML5 features.

In the latest version of Internet Explorer 9, the accessibility interface was completely reworked to take advantage of the fact that the entire browser is now hardware-accelerated (opens in new window). For users of free and open-source screen-readers like NVDA, versions that work with the new accessibility interface are not far away. While Internet Explorer 9 itself will be free, for users of proprietary screen-readers like Jaws, the wait will be longer, and the upgrade costly.

Essentially what this means is that when developing accessible sites, it's important to keep end users and available technology in mind, not just theoretical standards.

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