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Running ChromeVox as a library in a web page?


From: Robert Fentress
Date: Aug 30, 2017 3:36PM

I was wondering if anyone knows enough to say how hard it would be to port
the ChromeVox browser extension to be a JavaScript library that someone
could load in a browser on a per-page basis without having to install the
extension. I suspect that, under the hood, Google is using standard web
technologies, like JavaScript and the Web Speech API, but I really have no

I've mentioned this before and folks seemed to be baffled by why one would
want to do such a thing, but I didn't totally understand the criticism, so
I'd appreciate anyone who wished to (kindly) enlighten me. Basically, my
thinking is that, if this were an option, developers could code their page
or web application to standards, as best they could interpret them, and
then test with ChromeVox. If it worked with that, and the developer could,
essentially, include that screen reader as an option on the page itself,
then it would help ensure at least a floor for screen reader
accessibility. It would also provide another option for users, in general,
to interact with their site.

I think many developers want to do right, but don't have the time to learn
all the ins and outs of how different screen readers interpret things or to
test in a half dozen or more different screen reader/browser/platform
combinations, guessing, without any really reliable data, on what those
might be. I know ChromeVox is not a great or complete screen reader, but,
if people started using this as a back up, and it started to gain traction
as a strategy, it might prompt Google to improve it. Then that might begin
to serve as sort of a reference standard for other screen readers in terms
of how to interpret and present things. I can hear the groans already, and
I'm not saying ChromeVox is the best thing to serve as that reference, but
I'm suggesting it here solely because I suspect it would be easier to port
to be just an in-page Javascript-based screen reader.

OK. Have at me, but be kind.

Rob Fentress
Senior Accessibility Solutions Designer
Assistive Technologies at Virginia Tech
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