HTML5 Accessibility analysis

Posted on Monday, 17 November 2014 by Steve Faulkner

HTML5Accessibility.com was updated last week to include the latest results for HTML5 accessibility support in Windows browsers. What do these results mean?

HTML5 Accessibility support: where are we at?

The aim of HTML5Accessibility.com is to track the implementation of accessibility support in browsers for a range of  User Interface (UI) features introduced in HTML5. Accessibility support is assessed in terms of the implementation in browsers of mappings for the features to accessibility APIs which Assistive Technology can make use of to convey HTML semantics and UI behavior to users, and the implemented keyboard interaction support for interactive controls. Consistent exposure of the accessibility information and keyboard support across browsers is a cornerstone of an accessible interoperable web.

Overview of HTML5 accessibility support in Windows browsers

HTML5 Accessibility Support Score

Firefox
85.5/100

Chrome
83.5/100

Internet Explorer
37/100

Firefox have consistently lead the pack in providing accessibility support for new features as they are implemented. This is a great achievement by the Mozilla Accessibility Engineers and really important work, as it allows user with disabilities, who require assistive technology to participate on the web, the opportunity to do so.

Chrome support has improved markedly since the last update, and is now on par with Firefox. This is due to the efforts of members of the chromium project working hard to resolve a large number of  bugs. Kudos to these chromium project members!

Internet Explorer continues to perform poorly in implementing accessibility support overall. It must be noted that IE support for interactive UI features is on par with Chrome and Firefox, but Internet Explorer continues to be particularly poor in providing accessibility support for non interactive HTML elements. Good news is we can expect improvements from IE soon:

Opera in theory, now Opera has switched to the Blink rendering engine, should have similar support to Chrome, but as Opera provides no accessibility documentation or assistive technology support claims (none that I could find) for any of its browsers, it is considered an unknown entity.

What about browsers on other operating systems?

Apologies for not providing detailed information on OSX/iOS, Linux and Android etc. I simply don’t have the time to do so at present. The Rough Guide: browsers, operating systems and screen reader support provides an overview of the best OS/browser combinations for accessibility support. In brief: Safari and Chrome both have very good support on OSX/iOS. Firefox has very good support on Linux.

Detailed accessibility support information for Windows browsers is available at HTML5Accessibility.com

Note: Browser implementation bugs have been filed where applicable and are listed in the ‘notes’ column of the HTML5 accessibility support tables.

About Steve Faulkner

Steve is the Technical Director at TPG. He joined The Paciello Group in 2006 and was previously a Senior Web Accessibility Consultant at vision australia. He is the creator and lead developer of the Web Accessibility Toolbar accessibility testing tool. Steve is a member of several groups, including the W3C Web Platforms Working Group and the W3C ARIA Working Group. He is an editor of several specifications at the W3C including HTML 5.1, ARIA in HTML, Notes on Using ARIA in HTML and HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text alternatives. He also develops and maintains HTML5accessibility.

Comments

  1. Any particular reason Drag and Drop isn’t included? It seems to be one of the HTML5 features browser vendors have most difficulties providing accessibility support for.

  2. That would be great!
    Accessibility implementations have been discussed for at least five years on this one, some extra exposure won’t hurt.

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