[rt-users] Accessibility of RT for screen reader users?

Alex Hall ahall at autodist.com
Thu Aug 25 17:16:38 EDT 2016

Thanks, shortcuts always help. :) Just to be clear, the h key isn't a
website-specific shortcut, it's built into NVDA and Jaws. Web authors need
do nothing more than use h tags, and screen readers will be able to jump to
those headings. CSS styling isn't enough to tell the screen reader that a
given span or div is supposed to be a heading. However, RT doesn't need to
add heading jumping commands to make the navigation work, it just needs to
add h tags where, visually, they should be anyway.

On Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 5:08 PM, Chris McClement <chrisis at bosberaad.com>

> The coloured items are links but they are not <h> tags. Their attributes
> are defined using CSS classes.
> I tried tabbing through the page and you have to tab through every item in
> every menu before you get to the body of the ticket. Once in the body of
> the ticket tabbing jumps from link to link, and tickets typically have many
> of these.
> Of interest may be RT's built-in keyboard shortcuts: https://
> bestpractical.com/blog/2016/7/keyboard-shortcuts
> While there are shortcuts to navigate search results as well as some basic
> actions (like commenting) there do not appear to be shortcuts for
> navigating headings within a ticket.
> On Thu, 25 Aug 2016 at 15:05 Alex Hall <ahall at autodist.com> wrote:
>> Thanks for testing. My only concerns are mousing over things to get them
>> to read, and whether the colored items are true headings?
>> For mousing, I wonder if tab will do the same? That is, if you tab from
>> field to field, will NVDA announce the field label as focus changes to the
>> field? I never use a mouse, so moving the pointer over a field isn't
>> something I think of testing.
>> The colored items: are those headings in look only, or actual h tags?
>> That is, when you're on the page with them, does pressing the h key move
>> you to each one in turn?
>> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Aug 24, 2016, at 19:18, Chris McClement <chrisis at bosberaad.com> wrote:
>> Hi Alex
>> While I don't have much experience with web accessibility I do run a
>> network of public PCs that includes NVDA installed on those PCs, so I
>> jumped onto one of them to do a quick test of the RT web pages with NVDA
>> active. Bearing in mind that I don't know what is supposed to be good and
>> bad for these sorts of things, here are my observations, based on the list
>> of your basics:
>> - label tags for form fields: yes. You have to mouse over for them to be
>> read
>> - table titles - When I opened a ticket listing (for example, by clicking
>> on a search) the page opened and the first thing NVDA said was "table of x
>> rows and Y columns". It also read the table title (e.g. "Found 1 Ticket").
>> However it did not automatically read column titles, I had to mouse over
>> them.
>> - image descriptions use alt attribute - yes, but actually a bit
>> annoying. At the top right hand corner of every RT page is the Best
>> Practical Logo so every page change one of the things it read was the
>> Logo's alt attribute. It felt redundant really quickly!
>> - use of headings/landmarks - yes, RT divides tickets display pages into
>> sections and the headings are not only in enlarged fonts but different
>> sections have color-coded headings. For example, "The Basics" and "Custom
>> Fields" is in bright red, the "People" section is in light blue, "Dates" is
>> in magenta, etc. So depending on the level of your visual impairment that
>> may be useful.
>> - accessible widgets like menus or dialogs: menus = yes, dialogs = no.
>> There are no popups. Also, the menus are all dropdowns, so nothing visible
>> in the menu until you click on it. Clicking on a menu heading does not
>> change page, it just opens the menu. Not sure if it is relevant but you can
>> configure custom field selection boxes in multiple ways, so for example you
>> can make them a dropdown box, or a selectable list, that sort of thing.
>> One other observation for the web interface: in ticket listings, RT
>> abbreviates dates (so "Aug" for August" etc) which took a bit of getting
>> used to when NVDA read out the abbreviation when I moused over it.
>> Hope that helps!
>> Chris
>> On Thu, 25 Aug 2016 at 00:10 Alex Hall <ahall at autodist.com> wrote:
>>> Hello all,
>>> Thanks for your comments on my long list of questions yesterday. I'm
>>> going to take today and set up RT on our Debian server, just to see how
>>> well it works. As I do, one final question comes to mind: how well does RT
>>> work with screen readers?
>>> For those unfamiliar, a screen reader does basically what it says on the
>>> box: it is a program that speaks, using synthesized speech, what's on the
>>> screen. It uses standard system commands augmented with a set of its own
>>> commands to read just about everything--emails, webpages, spreadsheets,
>>> documents, menus, etc. Different screen readers do different amounts of
>>> guessing if the OS/current application fails to provide information, but
>>> they all work best when whatever you're using them to access complies with
>>> standards and best practices.
>>> In this case, I'm wondering how compliant RT's webpages are with web
>>> accessibility standards. I'm visually impaired, so use a screen reader
>>> (NVDA, www.nvda-project.org) to do all my work. I'm the only one who
>>> will be using RT here that needs a screen reader, but as it's my job to
>>> administer the system, I have to be able to use it reasonably well.
>>> OSTicket has several major problems in this area, and, while I could
>>> usually get around them, they made things slower and more frustrating than
>>> they needed to be.
>>> If anyone has any experience with web accessibility and happens to know
>>> how well RT works with common screen readers, I'd love your thoughts.
>>> Specifically, I'm looking for the basics--label tags for form fields, table
>>> titles, image descriptions using the alt attribute, use of headings and/or
>>> landmarks to facilitate easy navigation, accessible widgets like menus or
>>> dialogs, and so on. I'll find out soon first-hand how well RT does at
>>> these, and I did have a quick look through the demo site, but if anyone has
>>> input I'd love to hear it. Thanks.
>>> --
>>> Alex Hall
>>> Automatic Distributors, IT department
>>> ahall at autodist.com
>>> ---------
>>> RT 4.4 and RTIR training sessions, and a new workshop day!
>>> https://bestpractical.com/training
>>> * Boston - October 24-26
>>> * Los Angeles - Q1 2017

Alex Hall
Automatic Distributors, IT department
ahall at autodist.com
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