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Version 1709 and beyond: screen readers must support uIA notification event in order to announce various things from apps #ADVISORY #WinTenOld


 

Hi everyone,

 

The following advisory is considered major in that it impacts all known screen readers )except for one or two; feel free to pass this on, although please do cite where you’ve got the advisory from):

 

Problem: notifications from apps such as Calculator, Microsoft Store and others are not announced by screen readers.

 

Background: in Windows 10 Version 1709 and later, if apps are written correctly, they can send notification texts to be announced by screen readers. A UIA client such as a screen reader must be able to catch this in order to announce certain notifications, including Calculator’s display window, app update status in Microsoft Store, various notifications from Edge, Alarms and Clock and other apps.

 

Steps to reproduce:

 

  1. While using Windows 10 Version 1709 or later (including current Insider Preview builds), launch an app such as Alarms and Clock (be sure it is the latest version).
  2. In case of Alarms and Clock, go to Stopwatch tab and start and stop the stopwatch.
  3. For Calculator, do some calculations.

 

Expected: screen reader announces messages such as “Stopwatch stopped” in Alarms and Clock and “display is something” in Calculator.

Actual: only Narrator announces such texts.

Cause: other screen readers do not track UIA notification event. This is due to the fact that Version 1709 introduces this event, which requires tracking a newer UIA interface.

 

Known solutions/mitigations/workarounds and impact:

 

  • Narrator: green light/okay; works out of the box (requires Version 1709 and later).
  • JAWS for Windows: red light/major; no support (version 2018.1802.78 did not solve the Calculator display text problem, for instance).
  • NonVisual Desktop Access: yellow light/solution being tested (through an add-on update).

 

This advisory will be closed once major screen readers (in addition to the three listed above) provides at least a basic solution.

 

Cheers,

Joseph