Read time: 1 minute 10 seconds

Can your users use a screen reader to access online content or services?

  • Why it's important

    • Devonte is blind and uses a screen reader to navigate the web.
    • Otto uses a mobile phone to listen to the news stories of the day while travelling home from work on the train.

Some assistive technologies are likely only going to be used by people with specific, long-term disability.

These include screen readers, switch devices, screen magnifiers, and others.

Other kinds of assistive technologies may be more familiar to you and include voice control on your cell phone, ergonomic keyboards, or a browser’s native zoom function.

People have different skill levels in how they use these technologies.

Steps to take

  1. Learn how to navigate online using only your keyboard and learn how to use tools, such as NVDA Screen Reader or VoiceOver on your Mac so you can spot check new features when necessary. This can help you understand the technology itself, but keep in mind that people who use it every day will often have their own strategies for using these tools.
  2. Observe people using assistive technology (AT) on your product or others. In some cases you may be able to find videos demonstrating how people use different strategies to interact with digital products.
  3. Take a short course to get a baseline knowledge of accessibility.

Supporting resources

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Next page

Last update: 21 August 2019, editorial review.