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Using VoiceOver

While studying the Web Accessibility course from Google by Udacity, I came across this video explaining how to use the Mac VoiceOver as a screen reader to navigate the web and I thought it would be a great idea to share it. I also included the course description included with the video as a guide and a reference (video and the information credit goes to the course).

Shortcuts mentioned:

  • CMD+F5 to turn on VoiceOver on OS X.
  • Normal keyboard operation (TAB, Shift+TAB, arrow keys etc.) work as normal with VoiceOver running.
  • CMD+L to jump to address bar.
  • CTRL+Option+U to open Web Rotor.
  • Type search term with Web Rotor open to search within Web Rotor.
  • CTRL + Option + to explore content.
  • CTRL + Option + CMD + H to move forward by heading.
  • CTRL + Option + CMD + Shift + H to move backward by heading.

WebAIM’s article on Using VoiceOver to evaluate Web Accessibility has a full introduction to VoiceOver from the point of view of evaluating accessibility, including most keyboard commands available.

If you don’t have a Mac device, NVDA is a free, open source screen reader available for Windows. WebAIM’s introduction to NVDA covers the basics of using NVDA to check accessibility.

If you only use Linux, Orca is available in the Gnome desktop manager, although this screen reader is much more rarely used and suffers from poor support by web browsers.