One thing that should be obvious to anybody who has read my recent posts Rough Guide: browsers, operating systems and screen reader support and a Brief history of browser accessibility support or looked at HTML5Accessibility.com is that the Opera browser does not have practical support for screen readers. Of the big 5 browsers, it is the only one that does not work well with screen reading software on at least one platform.
The question is, does it matter?
- There are already browsers available that provide good access for screen reader users.
- Does the Opera browser offer any unique features that would be valuable to users who are also screen reader users?
- Does the Opera browser offer any unique features that would be valuable to users of other assistive technology (screen magnfiers for example) that they cannot currently access, because of Opera’s lack of accessibility API support?
- Does Opera the company have any duty to ensure assistive technology users can use its software?
- Does it make good business sense for Opera to make its products accessible to screen reader users? The apparent answer is that those who make such decisions have not thought it so for the past 15 years.
Note: This is not in any way an attempt at Opera bashing. I like the Opera browser, it’s my browser of choice on iPhone. I like the people who I know that work for Opera, I am just writing down some thoughts and hopefully other people will chime in on the question “does it matter” as it’s one I ask myself and keep coming back to particularly since publishing Freedom of Choice last year.