Recently, we introduced Microsoft Edge’s new accessibility architecture, which inherently supports modern web standards, and provides a foundation to make the web platform more accessible than ever. To build a comprehensive ecosystem across all products and users of every ability, assistive technologies build end user experiences on top of accessibility frameworks. In Edge, accessibility information is exposed through the UI Automation (UIA) framework. HTML, CSS, and ARIA markup is translated to UIA objects that assistive technologies use to provide a tailored experience.

In this post, we’ll walk through some concrete examples of how our new architecture improves the end user’s experience, and specifically how markup defines the experience of navigating with assistive technologies like screen readers. Our examples focus on Narrator, but any screen reader using UIA will be able to take advantage of these improvements.

Measuring success with HTML5Accessibility

As part of our ongoing work to advance Edge’s accessibility, we want to make sure developers and users can easily get accurate information on platform accessibility across browsers, making it easier to build more accessible sites and make informed decisions when using accessibility features. For example, we are working closely with HTML5Accessibility’s maintainer, Steve Faulkner of the Paciello Group, to update the site and refresh its design.

HTML5Accessibility is a popular resource for this information that summarizes and rates major browsers’ HTML5 platform accessibility. Some of the success criteria include mappings to the accessibility API, keyboard accessibility, and the accessibility of error states. The upcoming refresh (which you can preview today on GitHub) includes changes to clarify pass criteria, add additional tests, and even give the site a fresh and modern makeover.

Comparing the old and new designs. Note that the updated site does not yet reflect the accessibility improvements in EdgeHTML 14.

Many of the accessibility APIs discussed in this post are tracked on HTML5Accessibility, or were leveraged to build the site’s upcoming redesign. Each element or attribute has its own test page, so you can use Narrator to try out the user experience and open Inspect or F12 to see how they are mapped to UIA.

Note that HTML5Accessibility currently tracks the status of shipping versions of the listed browsers, and has not yet been updated with the new test criteria. With the work landing in EdgeHTML 14, we look forward to a much-improved score for Edge soon! We’ll share more when those updates are available...

Read more: Building a more accessible user experience with HTML5 and UIA | Microsoft Edge Dev Blog