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Safari Accessibility Features

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Safari accessibility features make it easier for persons with disabilities to use technology. Let's examine each one in detail step by step.

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Safari Accessibility Features

Accessibility features are useful tools that help people with disabilities easily use technology. Some examples of accessibility features are text-to-speech software, sequential heading structure, and image alt text.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), are guidelines that are published by the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). These Guidelines provide recommendations for making Web content more accessible to those with disabilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that all web content be accessible to people with disabilities. Safari is the default web browser on all Apple devices, and it includes a number of features that help to make web content more accessible. For example, Safari can enlarge text and images, and it can also read web pages aloud. In addition, Safari includes a number of built-in accessibility tools, such as a screen reader, that can be used to customize the web browsing experience. As a result, Safari is a fully compliant web browser that meets the needs of all users.

By understanding the basics of accessibility issues and the best ways to accommodate them, companies can ensure that their products are helping contribute to the inclusion of those with disabilities. 

  • Keyboard Accessibility

    • There are disabilities that exist that impact an individual’s ability to operate a mouse. Because of this, they will rely heavily on keyboard navigation, meaning all navigation and click functions need to be possible from a keyboard, keyboard emulator, or other input devices. For instance, Safari allows the use of pressing the spacebar to allow for scrolling up and down on web pages. While there may be a slight learning curve in the exact operation, it is easy to adapt and experience how accessible some of the most common websites may be. 

  • Consistent Navigation

    • Consistency is key for those with disabilities, and that extends to web browsing as well. If operating multiple websites, ensure that there is consistency among their formats and navigational controls. One example includes positioning hyperlinks in the same location on the page consistently to allow for ease of navigation.

  • Image alt Text

    • For those who are using a screen reader to assist with a disability, image alt text is a helpful way to use descriptions to paint a picture for someone who may not have the ability to see the picture. Rather than using descriptions for organization and decoration, ensure that they are added to the alt text to allow those who are visually impaired to have a mental picture of what images are correlating with their browsing materials

  • Text-to-Speech

    • Text-to-speech or tts readers are useful tools for the visually impaired or dyslexic communities to be able to have materials read to them. This includes web pages. Many tts softwares, such as Speechify, have an app or a browser extension that will assist in reading web-based content.

  • Accessible Hyperlinks

    • Links are the backbone of navigation. If hyperlinks aren’t accessible, they can actually pose a large blockage in the browsing ability. By ensuring that links are readable, visually obvious with color differences, and are set up for success in accessing from a keyboard, links become doorways as opposed to roadblocks for those with disabilities. 

  • Sequential Heading Structure

    • Heading organization goes deeper than larger, bolder fonts. Ensuring that headings are tagged and labeled appropriately as headings will assist in browsing materials’ navigation and web content organization. The process of organizing the heading labels assists in presenting the content in the way it is meant to be conveyed. 

  • Autofill

    • You can save your personal information or credit card number on iPhone to speed up filling in online forms and making purchases. To set it up, go into settings > Safari > AutoFill then enable the feature by turning off “Private Information” when prompted.

  • Screenshot Accessibility

    • AssistiveTouch can help take screenshots by tapping on the screen (using one hand).

      • Turn on AssistiveTouch by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch.

      • Tap on Customise Top Level Menu… > tap on the Custom (star) icon > tap on Screenshot > tap on Done (upper-right).

      • Then take a screenshot at any time: tap on the floating menu button > tap on Screenshot.

There are multiple web browsers that are available for use, such as firefox, google chrome, and Safari. The Safari browser for Mac OS X and apple iOS offers a couple of specific accessibility options for those with disabilities. Let’s take a step-by-step look at each one.

Magnify Your Screen

This accessibility feature allows the user to increase and decrease the size of text and images on the screen for better visibility. Here are basic instructions for how to magnify the screen while using Safari:

  • Press and hold the COMMAND key on the keyboard.

  • While holding down the COMMAND key:

    • Press the “+” key to enlarge the text and images or

    • Press the “-” key to decrease the size of the text and images.

  • Continue to press the “+” or “-” keys while holding down COMMAND until the desired size is reached.

Choose Colors and Fonts on Web Pages

By customizing the colors and fonts on web pages, those with visual sensitivities, impairments or dyslexia can select the colors and fonts that are easy for them to read. Here are basic instructions on how to change the type of font, size and color of the font, and the background color on the Safari browser:

  • Select the Safari Menu

    • Select “Preferences”

      • Select “Appearance,” the second option to the right.

        • Under the “Standard Font” tab, choose the “Select” button. 

        • Choose the preferred font style, size, and color from the available options.

        • Click “OK” on the Preferences Screen

Here are basic instructions on how to set the minimum font size for all web pages:

  • Select the Safari Menu

    • Select “Preferences”

      • Select “Advanced,” the option on the far right.

        • Under the “Universal Access” tab, find the “Never use font sizes smaller than” dropdown box and select the preferred font size from the dropdown menu.

        • Click “OK” on the Preferences Screen


How do you enable accessibility on Safari?

Take the following steps to turn on Accessibility Events on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  • Select the Settings Menu

    • Select Safari

      • Select “Preferences”

        • Select “Advanced,” then select “Show Develop Menu” in the menu bar

          • From the Safari menu bar, choose “Develop”

            • Select “Experimental Features”

              • Tap to turn on “Accessibility Object Model”

What is VoiceOver?

VoiceOver is a built-in screen reader that describes aloud what appears on the computer screen and speaks the text found in documents and windows. To turn on VoiceOver, press Command-F5.

How do I turn off VoiceOver accessibility on Safari?

On your Mac, use the VoiceOver accessibility preferences to turn VoiceOver on or off, open VoiceOver Utility, or start the VoiceOver tutorial. 

Take the following steps to change the VoiceOver preferences: 

  • Choose the Apple menu

    • Select “System Preferences”

      • Click “Accessibility” 

        • Click “VoiceOver”

          • Turn VoiceOver on or off.

How do I enable keyboard accessibility in Safari?

Take the following steps to enable keyboard accessibility in Safari:

  • Select the Safari menu

    • Select “Preferences”

      • Select “Advanced”

        • Select “Accessibility” and check “Press Tab to highlight each item on a webpage”

How do I get the accessibility options on a Mac?

Take the following steps to access the Accessibility Options on your Mac:

  • Choose the Apple menu

    • Select “System Preferences”

      • Select “Accessibility”

        • macOS accessibility features are grouped by category in the sidebar of the preference pane: 

          • Vision: Use these features to zoom in on the screen, make the pointer or menu bar bigger, apply color filters, and more. Or have your Mac speak what’s on the screen using VoiceOver

          • Hearing: Use these features to show and customize captions on the screen, make and receive Real-Time Text (RTT) calls, and more. Enable sensory notifications such as a buzz on your apple watch.

          • Motor: Use these features to control your Mac and apps using spoken commands, the Tab key, an onscreen keyboard, the pointer, or assistive devices. You can also set options that make it easier to use a mouse and trackpad.

          • General: Use these features to easily turn various accessibility features on or off, and to type your Siri requests.

  • You can also press “Option,” “Command,” and “F5” as a keyboard shortcut to bring up the accessibility shortcut toolbar. 

What is the difference between accessibility and zoom?

The ability to zoom in and out is one way in which browsers are more accessible in that it allows the user to enlarge text or pictures for easier reading or viewing. Zooming in is used as a magnifier and focuses primarily on visual accessibility.

Accessibility is an umbrella term used to describe different accommodations that operating systems use to make technology easier to use for those with disabilities and is not limited to one area of web accessibility, such as vision.

Does Safari work with Microsoft Windows?

Safari is able to be downloaded and used with Microsoft, however, Apple has stopped developing the Safari for Windows operating system, meaning the latest version of Safari is not available for Windows OS.

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