Electron Documentation

Docs / Guides / Accessibility v1.7.10

Accessibility

Making accessible applications is important and we're happy to introduce new functionality to Devtron and Spectron that gives developers the opportunity to make their apps better for everyone.


Accessibility concerns in Electron applications are similar to those of websites because they're both ultimately HTML. With Electron apps, however, you can't use the online resources for accessibility audits because your app doesn't have a URL to point the auditor to.

These new features bring those auditing tools to your Electron app. You can choose to add audits to your tests with Spectron or use them within DevTools with Devtron. Read on for a summary of the tools or checkout our accessibility documentation for more information.

Spectron

In the testing framework Spectron, you can now audit each window and <webview> tag in your application. For example:

app.client.auditAccessibility().then(function (audit) {
  if (audit.failed) {
    console.error(audit.message)
  }
})

You can read more about this feature in Spectron's documentation.

Devtron

In Devtron, there is a new accessibility tab which will allow you to audit a page in your app, sort and filter the results.

devtron screenshot

Both of these tools are using the Accessibility Developer Tools library built by Google for Chrome. You can learn more about the accessibility audit rules this library uses on that repository's wiki.

If you know of other great accessibility tools for Electron, add them to the accessibility documentation with a pull request.

Enabling Accessibility

Electron applications keep accessibility disabled by default for performance reasons but there are multiple ways to enable it.

Inside Application

By using app.setAccessibilitySupportEnabled(enabled), you can expose accessibility switch to users in the application preferences. User's system assistive utilities have priority over this setting and will override it.

Assistive Technology

Electron application will enable accessibility automatically when it detects assistive technology (Windows) or VoiceOver (macOS). See Chrome's accessibility documentation for more details.

On macOS, third-party assistive technology can switch accessibility inside Electron applications by setting the attribute AXManualAccessibility programmatically:

CFStringRef kAXManualAccessibility = CFSTR("AXManualAccessibility");

+ (void)enableAccessibility:(BOOL)enable inElectronApplication:(NSRunningApplication *)app
{
    AXUIElementRef appRef = AXUIElementCreateApplication(app.processIdentifier);
    if (appRef == nil)
        return;
    
    CFBooleanRef value = enable ? kCFBooleanTrue : kCFBooleanFalse;
    AXUIElementSetAttributeValue(appRef, kAXManualAccessibility, value);
    CFRelease(appRef);
}