Christian Heilmann

Accessibility WTF: Voiceover on Mac announcing a list tree as a table?

Wednesday, July 28th, 2021 at 9:14 pm

I’m currently investigating a strange bug we got reported with the Edge Developer Tools. Voiceover on MacOS announces the DOM tree as a table and tells you how to navigate it – which then doesn’t work.

Voiceover announcing a list marked up as an ARIA tree as a table.

The reason is that the markup isn’t a table. The DOM tree is, well, a tree, built with OL, LI and ARIA roles. But Voiceover doesn’t recognise that. Narrator on Windows and NVDA work.

Developer tools open on Developer Tools showing the right markup for an accessible tree

I thought at first that it is a problem related to the list-style:none voiceover issue but it even happens on an example without any styles and on the W3C demo of treeview .

Bare bones example of the HTML of Developer Tools with Voiceover announcing it wrong

W3C treeview demo announced as table in voiceover

Let’s hope this gets fixed soon, as for now, I am stumped as to work around this issue.

Update: As Tomas Caspers pointed out on Twitter, this might be caused by a weird old HTML demo in the ARIA spec using a table and lots of roles to explain the functionality.

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