Headings Screen reader compatibility
Last updated: April 7, 2019
Screen reader compatibility for HTML and ARIA headings, showing how failures and techniques work in specific screen reader / browser combinations.
The results include two types of test:
- Expected to work - these tests show support when accessibility features are used correctly
- Expected to fail - these tests show what happens when accessibility features are used incorrectly (marked with )
Reliability by user agent
The solid area in the graph shows percentage of tests that pass in all tested interaction modes. The cross hatched area shows partial passes that only work in some interaction modes. An example of a partial pass is when form labels are read when tabbing, but ignored in browse mode.
|JAWS IE||JAWS 2018.1811.2 with IE11|
|JAWS Firefox||JAWS 2018.1811.2 with FF60|
|NVDA IE||NVDA 2018.4 with IE11|
|NVDA Firefox||NVDA 2018.4 with FF60|
|VoiceOver Mac||VoiceOver macOS 10.13 with Safari 12.1|
|VoiceOver iOS||VoiceOver iOS 11.4 with Safari iOS 11.4|
|WindowEyes IE||WindowEyes 9.2 with IE11|
|Dolphin IE||Dolphin SR 15.05 with IE11|
|SaToGo IE||SaToGo 22.214.171.124 with IE11|
|Average||Including older versions|
The average includes all versions, but some browser/AT combinations have tests for multiple versions (NVDA / JAWS / VoiceOver), while others only have tests for a single version (SaToGo and Dolphin).
Works as expected
These tests use conformant HTML or WCAG sufficient techniques, and work in all tested browser / screen reader combinations.
|Heading is IMG with ALT|
Expected to work
These tests use conformant HTML or WCAG sufficient techniques and might be expected to work in screen readers. This doesn't always happen.
Expected to fail
These tests use non-conformant HTML or WCAG failures and are expected to fail in screen readers.
|Heading is IMG ALT=""|
|Heading is IMG ALT=filename|
|Heading is IMG with no ALT|
|Heading non-breaking spaces|
|Heading only punctuation|
|Heading only spaces|
|Nested ARIA headings|
Tests expected to fail (due to authoring errors) are marked with .
- Works in 100% of tested screen readers
- Fails in 1% - 25% of tested screen readers
- Fails in 26% - 50% of tested screen readers
- Fails in 51% - 75% of tested screen readers
- Fails in 76% - 100% of tested screen readers
- Stable - works, or doesn't cause problems, in all versions of a specific combination of screen reader and browser
- Better - works, or doesn't cause problems, in the most recent version of a specific combination of screen reader and browser (improvement)
- Worse - causes problems in the most recent version of a specific combination of screen reader and browser, but used to work in older versions (regression)
- Broken - causes problems in all versions of a specific combination of screen reader and browser
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:
- Reading Content read using the «read next» command in a screen reader
- Tabbing Content read using the «tab» key in a screen reader
- Heading Content read using the «next heading» key in a screen reader
- Touch Content read when touching an area of screen on a mobile device
In the «What the user hears» column:
- Commas represent short pauses in screen reader voicing
- Full Stops represent places where voicing stops, and the «read next» or «tab» or «next heading» command is pressed again
- Ellipsis … represent a long pause in voicing
- (Brackets) represent voicing that requires a keystroke to hear