Issues - HTML

This page discusses some of the issues we have encountered in handling of HTML usage and sketches out how AxAp might address them.


Although EPUB 3 Best Practices covers a lot of issues in HTML usage, we've run into some others in the Examples we've examined. We expect to run into other accessibility-related issues as we proceed. We're also happy to receive and track information from other users!

So far, most of the issues have to do with level handling in headings and lists. For example, is the current level announced in a convenient fashion? This is a critical issue for navigation of structured documents; if the user doesn't know the levels of headings and list items, how are they supposed to understand the hierarchical structure?


Unsurprisingly, each User Interface (Operating System / Web Browser / Screen Reader) "stack" interprets HTML a bit differently. Here are the main stacks we're collecting information on; if you can help, please get in touch!

Stack System Browser Reader Status Issues
LFO Linux Firefox Orca Tested B - list levels
LSO Linux Safari Orca Skipped X - requires installation of Wine
MCV macOS Chrome VoiceOver Tested B - heading levels
MFV macOS Firefox VoiceOver Skipped F - reputed to be very inaccessible
MSV macOS Safari VoiceOver Tested C - heading levels, table navigation
WCN Windows Chrome NVDA Tested A - no significant problems
WFJ Windows Firefox JAWS Skipped X - costs too much for us to try
WFN Windows Firefox NVDA Tested A - no significant problems
WSJ Windows Safari JAWS Skipped X - costs too much for us to try
WSN Windows Safari NVDA Tested F - found to be very inaccessible

Amanda regularly uses three stacks (LFO, MSV, WFN) for HTML (e.g., AxAp, WWW) access: She has noticed and verified the behavior of the LFO, MCV, MSV, WFN, and WSN stacks.


Although Safari can run under Linux, it requires Wine in order to do so. Also, its (windows-oriented) UI is unlikely to be much like those of native Linux apps. So, it's not on our short list...

As Kendall Clark discusses in "8 accessible Linux distributions to try", several interesting options are available. Amanda boots Vinux as the alternate OS on her Windows PC. Vinux is derived from Ubuntu (and thus Debian), so it has very strong foundations.

Many blind users prefer JAWS to NVDA. However, it is too expensive for our (unfunded) project to purchase. Many blind users prefer NVDA to Chromevox, because they can use it with all of their applications.


This section contains a topically-arranged set of brief issue descriptions.


LFO and WFN announce heading levels (e.g., H1); MCV and MSV do not.

Unordered Lists

LFO announces the bullet "type" (e.g., bullet, white bullet), which indicates the item level, albeit very indirectly :-/. MSV announces the item level.

Neither LFO nor MSV indicates the item levels in the Foswiki-generated bullet list at the top of this page.

MCV and WFN announce the number of list items and the "out of list" transition.

WFN announces bullet types, if they are present.

Foswiki's %TOC% macro generates a rather peculiar unordered list, using CSS to change the bullet shape into a downward-pointing arrow. Several stacks find this to be confusing. LFO does not indicate the item levels; MSV doesn't even consider it to be a list.


When doing column-wise navigation, MSV gives no indication when it wraps around to the next column. However, this may be a user-configurable option.

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: r8 - 31 Oct 2016, RichMorin
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