Analyze Screen Reader Compatibility with SimulAT

The SimulAT feature of FireEyes provides a text-based simulation of how a screen reader would read a webpage. In fact, the title "SimulAT" is a play on words, combining the word "Simulate" with the acronym "AT," which stands for Assistive Technology. Screen readers are a type of assistive technology for people with disabilities. Rather than read the page aloud as a real screen reader would, SimulAT creates a text transcript of what a screen reader would say. Note that this is an approximation based primarily on the behavior of the JAWS screen reader by Freedom Scientific. There are subtle differences between brands of screen readers such as JAWS, NVDA, VoiceOver, and WindowEyes. SimulAT does not represent all of the subtle differences between brands, but it does give a general idea of the kinds of things screen readers convey to users.

Note: A complete accessibility evaluation requires testing with real screen readers, especially in the case of dynamic content, ARIA, and JavaScript.

SimulAT allows you to analyze the entire webpage (web document) or select part of the page content or page structure (such as headings, tables, frames, links, etc.) to analyze. Running a SimulAT analysis does not add issues to the issues list, but it serves as a tool to help you inspect the webpage and uncover issues. If you determine that an error exists in a page, you can add the issue manually to the issue list.

The first option under the SimluAT tab is Display. This includes a drop-down menu to select portions or elements of the page to analyze. Choices include:

  • The Entire document
  • All Page structure elements
  • Specific types of page structure elements such as Headings, Tables, or Frames and iframes
  • All Page content elements
  • Specific page content elements such as Links, Images, or Area tags

SimulAT page element options

Working with the Results

After SimulAT generates a report for the selected tag type, you are able to click on a specific element and:

  • View the individual element. Click on an element to highlight it in the webpage view.
  • Inspect the individual element. Click on an element and select the Inspect button to view the element's code in the Firebug HTML tab.
  • Add Issues manually related to that element. Click on an element and select the Add Issue button to manually add issues related to that element. The manual issue form will be prepopulated with information about the element selected in the SimulAT tab.

Working with SimulT results