Re: How do assistive technologies handle icon fonts?

On Tue, 01 Dec 2015 20:22:47 +1000, Michiel Bijl <> wrote:

> While I agree these issues should be addressed by Browser/AT vendors,  
> there should also be a way to make this accessible today.
> Joanie is the only person I know that works on AT, so I’ve included her  
> in the conversation.
> @Joanie: could you have a look at these accessibility tests  
> <> and this issue raised by  
> Dylan at Font Awesome  
> <>. Maybe you can  
> tell us how AT can help with this issue.

Here's the problem:

If you use codepoints in private use areas, as your examples do, AT  
*cannot* help without breaking the entire "private use" system of Unicode,  
or relying on complex hacking by authors.

As the name suggests, *private* use is a way to enable internal systems to  
add codepoints that they don't find in a standard, if they really need  
them. Giving these codepoints agreed names would destroy their ability to  
be used in that way.


> —Michiel
>> On 01 Dec 2015, at 07:45, Phill Jenkins <> wrote:
>> I understand the immediate "almost certain need for workarounds" for  
>> screen readers and magnifiers, but has anyone queried the developers of  
>> the ATs?
>>         What say ye:
>>         1. Freedom Scientific regarding JAWS and MAGic?
>>         2. NVDA?
>>         3. A I Squared Zoom Text with Speech?
>>         4. Microsoft Window-Eyes and other Windows assistive  
>> technologies?
>>         5. Apple VoiceOver and other iOS assistive technologies?
>>         6. Google Talkback and other Android assistive technologies?
>>         etc.?
>> Just like we need status and roadmaps from browser manufactures, this  
>> interest group also needs that same feedback and committment from the  
>> AT developers too!
>> Placing, and expecially placing the burden on the bazillion web  
>> developers to constannly develop workarounds and half baked hacks,  
>> instead of lobbying and driving the relative small number of AT  
>> developers, is an inefficient and loosing battle this group seems to  
>> fall into over and over in my opinion.
>> ____________________________________________
>> Regards,
>> Phill Jenkins,

Charles McCathie Nevile - web standards - CTO Office, Yandex - - - Find more at

Received on Tuesday, 1 December 2015 12:11:04 UTC