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SVG Icons and Screen Reader Accessibility


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SVG is often used for content, linked icons, and buttons. Learn which coding methods perform best across a variety of screen reader and browser combinations. By @DennisL

Published in: Technology
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SVG Icons and Screen Reader Accessibility

  1. 1. Dennis Lembrée (@DennisL) #CSUNATC19 SVG Icons and Screen Reader Accessibility
  2. 2. Link to this PowerPoint: • About @DennisL & You • About SVG • SVG Support • Embedding SVG (on web) • Screen Reader Test Page • Summary (Recommendations) • Moving Forward • Discussion Agenda
  3. 3. • Senior Accessibility Consultant at Deque Systems • Formerly on eBay and PayPal accessibility teams • Author of @EasyChirp and @WebAxe • You! • From where? • Your title? • SVG experience? About @DennisL & You
  4. 4. • Scalable Vector Graphics • • SVG is a widely-deployed royalty-free graphics format developed and maintained by the W3C SVG Working Group. • V1 2001 • V1.1 (2nd Ed.) 2011 About SVG
  5. 5. • Why use SVG? • Small file sizes that compress well • Scales to any size without losing clarity • Arguably better for icons than fonts • Possible to modify design with JavaScript and CSS (more than font icons) • Well supported About SVG - why
  6. 6. Great support: SVG Support
  7. 7. EXCEPT • IE9-Edge12, Safari 5.1-6, and UC Browser 11 do not support referencing external files via <use xlink:href> • So cannot cache SVG files • Since SVG code must be rendered inline instead, causes bloated HTML pages • Polyfills are available such as svg4everybody • adds to page weight • doesn’t work without JS SVG Support - <use>
  8. 8. Examples of <use xlink> <svg version="1.1"> <title>red square</title> <desc>A plain red square is nice.</desc> <use xlink:href="external-file.svg#square"></use> </svg> <svg version="1.1"> <title>red square</title> <desc>A plain red square is nice.</desc> <use xlink:href="#icon-play"></use> </svg> SVG Support - <use> examples
  9. 9. Inline <svg version="1.1"> <title>red square</title> <rect width="40" height="40" fill="#cc0000" /> </svg> Embedding SVG - inline
  10. 10. Will need to add somethin’ here Image element <img src="checkmark.svg" width="50" alt="checkmark"> Embedding SVG - <img>
  11. 11. Image element Advantages: • The HTML file size will be smaller than embedding the <svg> element inline. • The image can be cached by the browser. • If using the SVG in multiple places, one image file makes maintenance simpler. Disadvantages: • JavaScript and CSS cannot be applied to the <svg> contents to animate or manipulate images. Embedding SVG - <img> cont.
  12. 12. Background • Use the same accessibility techniques as any other CSS background .hero { background-image:url(‘awesomeSVG.svg’); } Embedding SVG - background
  13. 13. Object, iFrame, Embed • Little usage; outdated techniques • Poorly supported by assistive technologies <object type="image/svg+xml" data="svglogo.svg"></object> <iframe src="image.svg"></iframe> <embed type="image/svg+xml" src="image.svg" /> Embedding SVG - other
  14. 14. Why is ARIA needed? <svg version="1.1"> <title>red square</title> <desc>A plain red square is nice.</desc> <rect width="40" height="40" fill="#cc0000" /> </svg> Embedding SVG - ARIA
  15. 15. (or: • Let’s explore! • What’s NOT here • SVG with more than title and description text (no <text> elements) • SVG as background images, objects, iframes, embed • Testing with Dragon Naturally Speaking Screen Reader Test Page
  16. 16. Screen Reader Test Page: Screen Shot
  17. 17. • On Dennis’ personal GitHub: • • How you can help • Add test results • Confirm data • Add popular test cases not included Screen Reader Test Page: Open Source
  18. 18. For content, support for inline SVG is much better. • Support for title and description greatly improved. • Combinations with latest browser/screen reader version passed. • Use role, aria-labelledby, and aria-describedby <svg role="img" aria-labelledby="title-1" aria-describedby="desc-1"> <title id="title-1">red square</title> <desc id="desc-1">A plain red square is nice.</desc> <rect width="40" height="40" fill="#cc0000" /> </svg> Summary - 1
  19. 19. For content, all combinations support an IMG with an alt attribute and role=“img” (to support older VO). <img src="checkmark.svg" width="50" alt="checkmark" role="img"> Summary - 2
  20. 20. For links and buttons, all combinations except Narrator support aria-label when SVG used as content. <a href="warning.html" aria-label="view warning"> <svg> <use xlink:href="#warning"></use> </svg> </a> Summary - 3
  21. 21. For links and buttons, all combinations except Narrator support an IMG with an alt attribute as content (no role required). <a href="alert.html"> <img src="alert.svg" width="50" alt="view alert"> </a> Summary - 4
  22. 22. JAWS + IE is best combination! • JAWS 2019 + IE 11 passed all tests • JAWS 18 + IE 11 passed all tests! • Nearly perfect: • Talkback (Android 7 & 9) passed all tests but one. • Latest VO on Mac passed all tests but one. Summary - 5 +
  23. 23. For IE • The attribute focusable="false" should be added to the SVG element to ensure: • no double focus for links and buttons (implemented on test page) • a decorative SVG is not focusable (not implemented on test page) • Hey, that’s not so bad… Summary - IE focusing
  24. 24. For IE <a href="warning.html" aria-label="view warning"> <svg focusable="false"> <use xlink:href="#warning"></use> </svg> </a> Summary - IE focusing code
  25. 25. Will the standard be supported in the future? <svg version="1.1"> <title>red square</title> <desc>A plain red square is nice.</desc> <use xlink:href="external.svg#square"></use> </svg> Moving Forward
  26. 26. WAI-ARIA Graphics Module • W3C Recommendation 02 October 2018 • Definition of Roles: • graphics-document • Use in structured graphics such as charts, maps, diagrams, technical drawing, blue prints and instructional graphics • graphics-object • A section of a graphics-document that represents a distinct object or sub-component with semantic meaning • graphics-symbol • A graphical object used to convey a simple meaning • Use with fallback roles such as img and group, document Moving Forward – Graphics Module
  27. 27. • Is SVG used in your web projects? • How do your findings compare? • Questions? Discussion Link to this PowerPoint: