Pairing screen reader with web browser

Featured Image: 
Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari logos

Ever wonder why there are odd behaviors when you use a different web browser? These unexpected behaviors may be frustrating for some screen reader users. How can you increase your chances of getting a consistent user experience across browsers and devices? Freedom Scientific explains this phenomena in their article, Responsive Web Design: Why one site can behave differently on different PCs and browsers.  In this article, Freedom Scientific suggests these two tips:

  • Make sure your zoom level in your browser is set to 100%
  • If your browser supports it, maximize the browser window, insuring you have the most screen real-estate possible

Currently, the following screen reader and browser combinations are recommended:

  • VoiceOver (Apple's built-in screen reader) with Safari
  • NVDA (Windows screen reader) with Firefox
  • JAWS (Windows screen reader) with Internet Explorer
  • Talkback (Android screen reader) with Firefox or Chrome 
  • ChromeVox with Chrome (ChromeVox is currently not commonly used)
  • Windows 10 Narrator and Edge (Narrator is currently not commonly used; however, updates in seeing significant improvements)

Teachers: Carefully consider which browser you and your students are using.  When using online assessments, it is critical that your students are using the same browser and screen reader combination that the assessment recommends.  Using a different combination may result in unusual behaviors during the assessment, including shortcut commands that do not work correctly or other bugs.

For those who want more in-depth information about how the screen reader and browsers interact, view the article, How browsers interact with screen readers and where ARIA fits in the mix