Refer to Google Chrome accessibility update (07/12)
Google have launched their new browser, I like many other people have been very keen to install and use it. My first impression is it seems very slick, fast, has cool features such as speed dial and its intuitive to use for mouse users. I noticed yesterday that people on the Window Eyes user mailing list were discussing it and whether they could use it. And David Bolter asked the question “Is Chrome accessible?” So I decided to do some testing of Google Chrome. Here is a quick rundown of the accessibility support I found in Google Chrome.
Google Chrome has many keyboard shortcuts to allow use of the application with the keyboard alone. There appears to be no direct method to open and navigate the ‘control current page’ and ‘customize and control Google Chrome’ menus. So features such as ‘help’ and ‘options’ cannot be accessed with the keyboard.
OS Accessibility Options Support
Operating Systems such as Windows have built in accessibility features like ‘high contrast mode’ and the ability to increase default font size. Google Chrome does not currently support high contrast mode, but it does inherit font size settings.
The image below shows a screenshot of Google Chrome (top) and Firefox (bottom) with Windows high contrast mode enabled.
The image below is a screenshot of the Google Chrome ‘Options Dialog’. While high contrast foreground and background colours are inherited, the majority of the text becomes unreadable.
Exposure of Name,Role and State information
Google Chrome Interface
In order for software user interfaces to be accessible to assistive technology users programatically defined information about the interface elements neeeds to be provided. Many of the Google Chrome interface elements do not provide parts of this information.
Example of accessibility information provided by a typical control in Google Chrome.
|Role||Client (incorrect – should be push button)|
Example of accessibility information provided by a typical control in Firefox.
|Description||4 of 8|
Google Chrome Document Pane
Access to information about content in the HTML document being displayed in the browser is also required by assistive technology, so it can be conveyed to users. Although information is exposed for controls, from a quick test with the NVDA screen reader, no information is announced about plain text or focusable elements such as links in a web page displayed in Google Chrome. Although some rudimentary information is exposed about controls, but not links, this information is not being picked up by NVDA.
Example of accessibility information provided by a HTML link in Google Chrome.
Example of accessibility information provided by a HTML link in Firefox.
WAI ARIA Support?
It does not appear that any information conveyed through the use of WAI-ARIA attributes is exposed, but that is not surprising as indicated above, even basic informtion about native HTML controls is not exposed.
This release of Google Chrome does not appear to have been developed with the needs of users with disabilites taken into account, apart from limited keyboard shortcuts, basic support required for accessibility is absent.