A Screen Reader User Surfing the Web

A Screen Reader User Surfing the Web

This video with Léonie Watson using a screen reader is incredibly insightful. She goes through a few different sites, finds issues, and thoroughly explains the problem.

When you watch, pay close attention. Don't just put it on in the background, half listening. Really take in everything Léonie says in order to gain an understanding of the daily struggles people face who rely on a screen reader.

Direct video link.


I took down a few notes while I watched which I felt were worth mentioning:

  • Not all screen reader users are blind! People with dyslexia and ADHD also use screen readers to simply listen to text be read aloud to them.
  • "ARIA is like cooking with spices; use just enough and tings turn out great. Use too much and things can go to shite quickly."
  • ARIA is very much a screen reader technology. Dragon naturally speaking understands some ARIA, but very little.
  • role="menu" is meant to replicate "desktop software" menus such as WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors.
  • role="application" allows the browser to take control, pass screen reader commands directly to the app – use sparingly and with purpose!
  • For Play/Pause controls, keep the label the same and use aria-pressed to indicate state.
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