Software Notes

Different combinations of software (e.g., browsers, operating systems, screen readers) handle web page content in different ways. This page is a start on some summary notes...


The basis for these notes is the Test_1 page, which contains assorted types of HTML markup. For our initial experimentation, Amanda and I used two software combinations which we had on hand. Feel free to supply us with information about other combinations:

Code System Browser Reader
OSV OS X Safari VoiceOver
WFN Windows Firefox NVDA


In the notes below, "announce" is used for synthesized speech; "display" is used for the Braille display device.


Neither OSV nor WFN announce or display font information. So, tags such as b, em, font, i, and tt simply disappear.


Both OSV and WFN announce headings (including the level), display the heading text, and support heading-based navigation.


OSV does not announce images, but it does display the name of the image file. WFN suppresses all information concerning images.

Both OSV and WFN announce links and display the link text.


Neither OSV nor WFN provide any information on list item levels. WFN announces bullet descriptions (e.g., black circle, white circle). OSV gets confused by bullets, announcing them as ",", "?", etc.

Q: Is there any specific support for navigation between list items? For example, "move to the next item at this level".

Preformatted Text

WFN announces blocks of preformatted text (e.g., computer source code); OSV does not. Both OSV and WFN display the text, honoring line breaks.

Quoted Text

Both OSV and WFN announce and display the content of quoted text blocks. However, neither one announces or displays the block's beginning and end.


Both OSV and WFN announce and support navigation within tables, letting the user move to the next or previous cell in the same row or column. When the user reaches the end of a row, OSV wraps to the start of the following row (etc). WFN simply refuses to proceed any further.

Q: Do they display the current cell text or the entire row?

This wiki page is maintained by Rich Morin, an independent consultant specializing in software design, development, and documentation. Please feel free to email comments, inquiries, suggestions, etc!

Topic revision: r6 - 29 Mar 2016, RichMorin
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