Navigation and links Screen reader compatibility

Last updated: September 5, 2016

Screen reader compatibility for HTML navigation and links, showing how failures and techniques work in specific screen reader / browser combinations.

The results include two types of test:

Expected to fail

These tests use non-conformant HTML or WCAG failures and are expected to fail in screen readers.

Screen ReaderNVDAJAWSVoiceOverWin-EyesDolphinSaToGo
Should fail. Fails in 26% - 50% A element with ONCLICK but no HREFBadBadBadBadBadBadBadBadGood
Should fail. Fails in 76% - 100% A link TARGET opens in new windowBadBadBadBadBadBadBadBad
Should fail. Fails in 51% - 75% A link with empty labelBadBadBadBadGoodBetterWorseGood
Should fail. Fails in 76% - 100% A link with non-breaking space as labelBadBadBadBadBadBadBadBad


Tests expected to fail (due to authoring errors) are marked with Expected to Fail.

Test notes

The threshold for inclusion in these results is 5% usage in the most recent WebAIM screen reader survey. Chrome and Android still fall below the 5% threshold.

All tests were carried out with screen reader factory settings. JAWS in particular has a wide variety of settings controlling exactly what gets spoken.

Screen readers allow users to interact in different modes, and can produce very different results in each mode. The modes used in these tests are:

In the «What the user hears» column: