[webkit-dev] Accessibility Object Searching

Dominic Mazzoni dmazzoni at google.com
Wed Jun 22 08:12:32 PDT 2011

Hi Sam,

I'm one of Chrome's accessibility developers. I think this is a really
great idea, I think the ability for WebKit to do the searching rather
than the screen reader could be a big performance win for users.

In order to take advantage of this feature on multiple platforms, we'd
need to add some new APIs to the platform accessibility APIs like
NSAccessibility and IAccessible2 - could you give us an idea of what
you had in mind for those APIs? It might be nice to get some feedback
from those communities too, as the design of the high-level API might
impact how the low-level webkit changes might work.

It seems to me that not just searching for the next instance of a role
(like link or table), but being able to more quickly search for text
that might appear in an object's accessible title or description,
would be perhaps the biggest win for users. Perhaps that's already
part of what you had in mind.

- Dominic

On Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 4:30 PM, Samuel White <samuel_white at apple.com> wrote:
> 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.
> Thanks
> Sam
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