Developers, which browser/screen reader combo are you using on Mac OS?

Forum
macOS and Mac Apps

Hi,

I'm addressing this thread to developers, mainly because I use my MacBook for work, and that means I have to read a lot of code with the browser, and have to deal with websites like Github, Gitlab and StackOverflow, which means a lot of code blocks.

For the past two years, I've mostly used VoiceOver and Safari, but I've been trying out Google Chrome and ChromeVox recently. I'm finding that neither of them seem to be as easy to work with as the flat system that Windows screen readers provide, but I wonder if you have figured a way of making this easier. I'll explain what I mean.

VoiceOver, in Safari, seems to be jumping from object to object. That means if you have a block of code where line endings are important and you need to look at the code character by character, the behavior is not predictable. Sometimes using the arrow keys work, and sometimes they don't.

When using Chrome and ChromeVox, you have to keep switching between the granularity levels, which is too much work. The flat keymap also has a lot of commands using control, but on the Mac I've found the best combination of ChromeVox keys to be the default Command+Ctrl, which makes those keys stop working.

Another issue is Google Docs: the level of accessibility varies a lot based on what you're using, and none of them seem to be 100% usable when collaborating with sighted people.

Any ideas welcome!

Options

Comments

Submitted by Greg Wocher on Monday, April 15, 2019

Hello,
This is a really good question. Emacs with emacspeak might be an option for most of what you are doing. It is a challenging interface to learn however. It uses some really odd phrasing and key combonations. I too run into problems trying to learn coding on the web with voiceover and safari. Its gotten so frustrating that I am thinking of just going back to windows to do this. I do hope there are some improvements with the next version of MacOS.

Submitted by Parham Doustdar on Monday, April 15, 2019

In reply to by Greg Wocher

Hi,

I'm a heavy Emacs and Emacspeak user, and the only reason I don't want to go back to Windows is that there is no good Emacspeak speech server for Windows, and Emacs has some issues when run in a Windows environment.

But still, i can't open all sorts of websites in Emacs and eww, so I'm stuck relying on VoiceOver, which is nowhere near useful in this case.

Submitted by Deon588 on Friday, July 3, 2020

I'm a bit late to this thread but... I gave up trying to make this work a few months ago. it's strange that apple hasn't made any progress with this in many years. I came to the conclusion that if you want to be productive on a Mac if you're a developer the only way is to install windows... i'm still wondering if there's something big i'm missing? Are there no blond/low vision power users on Mac OS that found a way around the disappointing browser experience? In contrast IDE's on Mac OS has made a lot of progress e.g. IntelliJ idea is mostly accessible and VSCode is completely accessible with voiceover.

Submitted by Parham Doustdar on Friday, July 3, 2020

For me, with 16 GB of memory, a Windows VM plus NVDA turns out to be too slow. Audio keeps breaking up, and I'm not sure if that's an issue with the way audio in VMs is implemented, or if it's that 16 GB of memory is not enough. What has your experience been?

Submitted by Trenton Matthews on Friday, July 3, 2020

The latest version of Emacspeak For Windows at this time (unless I'm missing something), is version 45.01 (Ideal Dog).
http://emacspeakwin.sf.net/

NB. The recommended Emacs version is 25.1.2 (though later versions "may" work.)
Grab Emacs For Windows at
http://mirror.clarkson.edu/gnu/emacs/windows/

PS. The latest public release of Emacspeak, is 52.0 (WorkAtHomeDog):

https://emacspeak.blogspot.com/2020/05/emacspeak-520-workathomedog-unleā€¦

Update!

I'm using Emacspeak For Windows 45.01 with the latest Emacs 26.3 as of this post's edit, and it's working good, shockingly!

Emacs 26.1 and later is needed if you wish to use EWW on the web do to a TLS 1.3 fix.