Microsoft is Bringing Edge Dev Tools Accessibility to Other Browsers

Posted on March 12, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Web browsers with 3 Comments

Microsoft announced new accessibility features and improvements to the Microsoft Edge Developer Tools and said that they will come to other Chromium-based browsers as well.

“Developers are recognizing that the web must be accessible and inclusive in order to create great experiences for everyone,” Rachel Simone Weil writes in a new post to the Microsoft Edge blog. “Nearly half of computer users in the US also use some form of assistive technology (AT). Users of AT may have physical or cognitive disabilities, temporary injuries, hearing or vision loss, or other conditions that necessitate different experiences on the web. Other users may not have an impairment but benefit from the convenience of features such as keyboard navigation.”

To this end, the firm is bringing new accessibility features and improvements to the Microsoft Edge Developer Tools and making them available in the new Edge browser on Windows 7/8/8.1, Windows 10, and macOS. But they’re also coming to all Chromium-based browsers, including Google Chrome, Microsoft says.

“With the support of the Google Chrome team and the Chromium community, we’ve committed over 150 changes back into Chromium on DevTools accessibility features alone,” Weil writes. “We’re proud to share this accessibility work to help improve the experience for millions of developers on Microsoft Edge and other Chromium-based browsers.”

New accessibility features include navigation improvements for those using a standard keyboard or screen readers like NVDA. “Accessibility improvements … extend beyond essential tab and pane navigation,” Weil adds. “Complex features like breakpoints and performance details are now accessible, too. In some cases, tools were even reimagined or built from scratch. For example, the new Initiator tab makes stack traces accessible by moving them out of a hover element and into their own tab. The stack traces are now in a format that is more compatible with AT.”

In the future, Microsoft will be adding more accessibility features to the new Edge and other Chromium-based browsers, including supporting high-contrast mode in DevTools, tooling to simulate high-contrast on websites being debugged in DevTools, and making sure the DevTools meet the accessibility recommendations outlined in the new WCAG 2.1 standards.

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