Edge DevTools now more compatible with assistive technology

by Don Sharpe
Don Sharpe
Don Sharpe
Don has been writing professionally for over 10 years now, but his passion for the written word started back in his elementary school days. His work has been... read more
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Web development

Microsoft’s push for inclusivity in software development is not losing momentum any time soon. The company has just announced a host of features that boost DevTools accessibility in Edge.

Last month, it incorporated 10 localized languages into the browser’s developer tools. But the latest DevTools enhancements will benefit developers who rely on assistive technology (AT) to do their work.

Compatibility with screen readers and the keyboard

Now, it is a little easier to transition between tabs or panes within the browser’s coding environment, whether you are accessing it via the keyboard or a screen reader.

Such seamless navigation is essential during debugging, which can be a pain, even to developers without any physical or cognitive impairment. No wonder Microsoft improved accessibility to features like breakpoints in Edge DevTools, enabling you to pause and probe your code conveniently.

Also, the company said it created new AT-compatible tools to streamline your app or web page development experience in Edge DevTools. A feature like the Initiator tab gives you quick access to stack traces, which come in handy when you are debugging exceptions.

These DevTools accessibility features and more are all available in the new Microsoft Edge browser for Windows 10, Mac OS X, and legacy Windows (7/8/8.1).

More Edge accessibility improvements on the way

Microsoft acknowledges that there is a lot it has to do to perfect the accessibility of Edge DevTools. It now looks forward to adding support for a high-contrast mode to aid developers with weak eyesight.

The feature would make it easier for them to decipher text and distinguish between elements within the browser’s coding environment without necessarily using assistive tech.

The end game for Microsoft is to improve Edge DevTools to the point of meeting WCAG 2.1 specifications.

To give credit where it is due, the company has been making a deliberate effort to incorporate built-in accessibility features in its software products. Stream is a good case in point—a video-sharing tool that now lets you annotate live footage.

For example, you can autogenerate captions or transcripts to enable people with hearing difficulty to follow your Stream videos in the workplace or training facility.

A Microsoft Edge version with the latest accessibility improvements is available in the Stable channel.


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