I’m using VoiceOver (the screen reader) on the Mac with Safari and I have a problem on som eof the longer threads where it will suddenly jump me up to the top of the page again and I lose my place. When I’m working through 120+ replies on the new mujsic thread this gets really annoying. Particularly as I have goldfish brain so it usually takes me ages to find my place again.
I have an unproven theory that this is a bug in Safari with VoiceOver for pages that dynamically update. I suspect the problem happens every time a new post is added to a thread I’m trying to read. I’ve had a similar problem elsewhere trying to follow live sport commentary on the BBC so I doubt it’s a Drowned in Sound thing.
For example I had the problem a lot trying to folow yesterday’s new music thread but not at all when looking at the previous week. (I was reading both one after the other today. Note to self - stop going on holiday in September!)
Anyway, I was wondering if there was any way I could disable the dynamic update thing?
I was going to suggest it might be to do with Twitter links as they load in as I come to them and make the page jump all over the place but I don’t think the New Release thread really has anything like that usually
I can’t say I’ve ever noticed a Twitter link in the new releases forum. I must confess that since I’ve started using a screen reader I’ve not spent much time elsewhere on the forums so not sure how much it affects other pages.
I am quite possibly wrong about the cause of the problem as I usually am when I have wild unwarranted theories, although it is interesting yesterday when I went through the two threads one after another and only the more recent one was jumping about the place.
I think the forums do generally seem to load content on demand, so I’m not sure why new (presumably unloaded?) content would make a difference to anything. But I presume the forums do monitor for changes in the background and then it does something when it detects a change?
I have found a way to make it a bit less annoying if there are any other VoiceOver users on here. This might not mean a lot to anyone else…
Firstly, make sure you are logged in when you are reading the forums. Then if the focus does go to the top of a post, use heading navigation to get to the first post in the topic then summon item chooser and search for “reply to post”. It will list the first 10 or so posts, then the number will suddenly jump. Pick the first one of these, then heading jump backwards a little bit until you recognise something. It’s still a bit annoying but much less painful than having to go forwards through all the posts.
The fact this works must mean that all posts in the middle of those 2 numbers aren’t currently loaded? (As item chooser just lists all things on the page)
I think your theory sounds pretty solid. From inspecting the generated code and network requests it looks like when you enter a thread it loads just 20 posts, and then further posts are loaded dynamically as you scroll up or down. It also checks for any new posts every 25 seconds in the background.
Afraid I don’t have a solution to your problem, but there is a bunch of chat about accessibility and specifically screen readers on the Discourse forums, e.g.
The devs seem really receptive to feedback around this and improving the accessibility of the platform
@mrgrieves has this always been the case or has it got worse in recent months?
I’m asking as based on the thread linked by @megalithicrock it looks like Discourse had a regression around focus and screen readers a few months back that they’re struggling to resolve.
It also looks like some screen reader users are having more luck with Firefox on discourse. Not sure how well voiceover will play with that, but may be worth a try just to see if it’s any better for now?
I only started using a screen reader last year, but the problem has always been around. Safari is the only browser on the Mac that I’ve found works well enough with VoiceOver. I sometimes use Chrome for certain things but it has a lot more focus issues than Safari. I’m not convinced that Firefox will work very well - I had a little play a while ago and gave up pretty quickly, and I don’t know if any blind Mac users are using it. I might give it another try though as it has no doubt been updated since I last tried.