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Testing with a mobile screen reader

Getting started

  • Navigate previous / next by swiping left / right, or navigate by touch by moving a finger over the screen
  • Double tap to activate the selected item
  • Scroll around
    • VoiceOver: 3-finger swipe up or down
    • TalkBack: 2-finger swipe up or down
  • VoiceOver (Rotor)
    • Open and select by twisting two fingers like turning a dial.
    • Swipe up / down for previous / next item
    • Customise Rotor items in SettingsAccessibilityVoiceOverRotor.
  • TalkBack
    • Global Context Menu: swipe down then right
    • Local Context Menus: swipe up then right

Entering text

  • Typing: in a text field, drag on the virtual keyboard and release on a letter
  • Test with a Bluetooth keyboard
    • for easier typing (as a tester of screen readers, rather than an everyday user)
    • for testing keyboard compatibility
  • Pause or resume reading: Two-finger tap

1. Test the headings

The headings divide up the page into sections.

Acceptance Criteria

  • Everything that looks like a heading (big, bold) is marked up as a heading.
  • (Where possible) Heading levels are set and headings are nested correctly.
    • The sections of the page have start with an h2.
    • The sub-sections (of the above sections) start with an h3.
    • And so on.

2. Test the interactive elements

Interactive elements should sound like they look, and make sense.

Acceptance Criteria

  • The elements has appropriate semantics (e.g. Button, Link, Text field)
  • The element has an accessible name.
  • The element has a good accessible name.
  • The order of the elements follow reading order (left to right, top to bottom).

Element-specific Acceptance Criteria

  • Link text describes the destination.
  • Button text describes the action.
  • Field name describes the input.

3. Test the images

Since images are non-text content, they must (usually) have a text alternative. We can use a screen reader’s menu functionality to go through all the images in order.

More information and context on images and when they need (and don’t need!) a text alternative: A quick guide to text alternatives for images.

Acceptance Criteria

  • Images that are presentational only are it is ignored by the screen reader (having been marked as decorative).
  • If the image has a text alternative it describes the content or function.

4. Test error handling and focus management

When submitting a form or entering data, the user should be guided through what the errors are and how to fix them.

Acceptance Criteria

On submitting a form with errors, either:

  • focus is sent to the first field with an error;
  • an error summary is provided at the top of the page and focus is sent to the summary.

5. Test status messages and loading

Any visual indication of loading or updating should have a text equivalent.

Acceptance Criteria

  • Loading states are announced


VoiceOver on iOS

TalkBack on Android

Testing and demos