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VoiceOver and menus


From: Mark Magennis
Date: Aug 24, 2022 4:47AM

I have a question about how MacOS/VoiceOver works within menus. Or really a=
ny screen reader which is not in an application mode. Suppose you have an A=
RIA menu. When it opens you use the up/down arrow keys to navigate between =
options. In JAWS and NVDA, you will be in application/forms mode (by defaul=
t) so you can't use the up/down arrow keys for the browse command "read nex=
t element" unless you exit application mode. In VoiceOver you are never in =
an application mode so the VO+Right Arrow "read next element" command is al=
ways available. My question is, if you issue the "read next element" comman=
d, what should logically happen? Should it move the selection within the me=
nu? Should it close the menu and read the next element after the menu? Some=
thing else?

I've tried this in menus within the application I'm working on. In one case=
it reads the next element after the menu but leaves the menu open and in a=
nother case it activates the currently selected menu option, which is obvio=
usly wrong.

If it should close the menu and move on to the next element, how can this b=
e done? Presumably you'd need an event listener for the "read next element"=
keypress, in which case logically you'd need event listeners for every oth=
er possible browse action. That's obviously not a sensible approach.

Anything insightful anyone can say about this would be welcome.


Mark Magennis (he/him)
Senior Accessibility Specialist
Skillsoft | mobile: +353 87 60 60 162