[webkit-dev] Accessibility Object Searching

Samuel White samuel_white at apple.com
Tue Jun 21 16:30:47 PDT 2011

Hey everybody,

I'm new to the list and thought it would be a good idea to get some feedback on an accessibility feature before filing a bug or submitting anything. Currently, no functionality exists in WebKit to search through AccessibilityObjects using basic search criteria like next link or next table internally. Screen readers and other access devices often must instead probe WebKit and build up their own internal representation of a page before they can begin searching for what they are after. This presents two big problems for the users of access technology. First, pages such as the HTML 5 working doc have a massive number of DOM elements and building up an external representation can be a very expensive and slow task. Secondly, maintaining an accurate external representation of a site can become difficult if that site has a large amount of dynamic content and users may not be accessing relevant information.

I would like to make a few small changes to the AccessibilityObject class that adds the functionality I've mentioned. I think these small but important additions will allow existing access technologies to rely much more on WebKits representation of a page and thus eliminate the problems I've described above. I appreciate any feedback and look forward to helping out.


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