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Navigation and links Screen reader compatibility

Last updated: December 27, 2017

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:

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 IEJAWS 17.0.2619 with IE11NaN
JAWS FirefoxJAWS 17.0.2619 with FF48NaN
NVDA IENVDA 2016.2 with IE11NaN
NVDA FirefoxNVDA 2016.2 with FF48NaN
VoiceOver MacVoiceOver OSX 10.12 with Safari 10.1.2100%
VoiceOver iOSVoiceOver iOS 10.3 with Safari iOS 10.3NaN
WindowEyes IEWindowEyes 9.2 with IE11NaN
Dolphin IEDolphin SR 15.05 with IE11NaN
SaToGo IESaToGo with IE11NaN
Average Including older versions 100%

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).

Reliability trend


Works as expected

These tests use conformant HTML or WCAG sufficient techniques, and work in all tested browser / screen reader combinations.

Screen ReaderNVDAJAWSVoiceOverWin-EyesDolphinSaToGo
Should work. Works in 100% A element placeholder link with no event handler or HREF Good

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 51% - 75% 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 labelBadBadBadBadWorseBetterWorseGood
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

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: