Since this article has been linked to now by a number of sites, I thought I’d provide a link to the actual post I wrote on AJAX and accessibility, to which this post is a follow-up! And, if you’re interested in a more recent and extensive article, try Accessibility and Usability Issues with AJAX, from October of 2007.

The incredible flexibility provided by Ajax technologies is a big frustration to the accessible design community. Speaking for myself, I’d LOVE to feel comfortable using these powerful tools to create accessible tools. But the situation continues to be limiting.

The limitations are, as I believe I’ve mentioned, at least partially contained in the way screen readers handle JavaScript events. Most non-visual browsers can support certain elements of JavaScript. Others don’t work as expected or at all! Any event which occurs upon the press of a mouse button is likely to be seriously limited, for example.

Recently, James Edwards has published a great article on Ajax accessibility at This article investigates in depth the behaviors of various screen readers with Ajax driven responses.

It’s great information, and I can only hope that it’ll inspire the designers of screen reader technology to work forward and build new functionality! For now, it mostly confirms just how unusable Ajax technologies are today.


  • ajax
  • accessible web design
  • screen+readers