Phabricator is unfriendly to assistive technology
Open, LowPublic


Filed upstream:

Nothing ever shows on cursor hover, and none of the popular images (avatars, Phabricator logo, edit menu buttons) include the "alt" attribute.

Actually, the pictures all seem to be added through CSS (as part of background for div, span, and similar tags), which is very bad for screen readers and similar software (IIRC).


flimport set Reference to fl175.

qgil wrote on 2014-04-21 03:14:38 (UTC)

Thank you! Good points.

Reported at

qgil wrote on 2014-04-21 05:12:47 (UTC)

@twkozlowski, it would be great if you could reply upstream.

"Is this a hypothetical concern, or do you have users who use screen readers who are reporting difficulty with the software? If you do, we'd love to hear about exactly what they're having trouble with.

I think we can probably fix this stuff pretty easily (e.g., we have a small total number of non-textual navigational elements, they're just fairly prominent), but if we don't actually have any users using assistive technologies guiding us through the issues and telling us when we've provided satisfactory fixes, I worry we're sort of just flailing around. I would guess that there are a lot of non-obvious, easy-to-fix things that we'll never catch without direct feedback from the affected users. For example, the way the dialog interaction works might be quite bad -- and is probably very easy to fix -- but implementing WCAG/WAI or similar won't guide us to that."

twkozlowski wrote on 2014-04-21 10:52:35 (UTC)

Thanks @Qgil, I added a comment upstream.

qgil wrote on 2014-04-30 14:19:32 (UTC)

Moving to "Not critical for the RfC" because upstream is taking this problem seriously (priority "Normal" and a first patch under review exists already). @Graham87's reports in Phhabricator itself suggest that, even if Phabricator is lacking and confusing in some aspects, overall is usable with assistive technology.

qgil wrote on 2014-05-13 18:41:37 (UTC)

@Graham87, could you help us identify the specific blockers for our Wikimedia Phabricator Day 1 release? We are looking specifically at accessibility regressions: problems in Phabricator that are not an issue in Bugzilla.

graham87 wrote on 2014-05-15 00:07:15 (UTC)

@Qgil: the most serious problems have been fixed (i.e. the inability to gt to the settings dialogue with screen readers). The main problems as far as I can tell are with form fields, which are being worked on upstream ... I wouldn't say they were *blockers* to Fabricator being implemented for MediaWiki, however.

qgil wrote on 2014-05-15 16:50:49 (UTC)

Thank you, @Graham87. It is good to know that the current situation is not a blocker for Day 1. For what is worth, I'm following the task upstream.

flimport added a subscriber: Qgil.Oct 2 2014, 9:47 PM
flimport added a subscriber: scfc.Oct 7 2014, 3:00 AM
jeremyb-phone changed the title from "Phabricator is assistive technology–unfriendly" to "Phabricator is unfriendly to assistive technology".Oct 12 2014, 4:01 PM
jeremyb-phone set Security to None.
Qgil lowered the priority of this task from "Normal" to "Low".Nov 7 2014, 10:22 AM
jayvdb added a subscriber: jayvdb.Dec 2 2014, 4:12 AM

Related: "Display Preferences" will offer an item "Accessibility: Use High Contrast Colors" after our next code pull (upstream, )

Pale Moon 25.6.0 and Firefox 41 have implemented a font icon fallback (Bug 789788) for the "Allow pages to choose their own fonts" option.

Qgil added a comment.May 19 2016, 6:48 AM

@jayvdb has proposed this task at T135327: Decide Phabricator improvements to be funded by WMF Technical Collaboration, but it is unclear here or in the related upstream task what would need to be done exactly. Since we are talking about funding a task, such details are required.

Restricted Application added a subscriber: TerraCodes. · View Herald TranscriptMay 19 2016, 6:48 AM
jayvdb added a subscriber: Jay8g.May 19 2016, 6:55 AM
In T109#2307844, @Qgil wrote:

@jayvdb has proposed this task at T135327: Decide Phabricator improvements to be funded by WMF Technical Collaboration, but it is unclear here or in the related upstream task what would need to be done exactly. Since we are talking about funding a task, such details are required.

That would be @Jay8g, not me, I think. I do endorse that suggestion, but dont want to do the extra work required... ;-)

What is unclear? The Phabricator developers could study (and the standards it references) and implement what's missing.

What is unclear?

Making upstream developers go through some generic list is not a good use of time and money.
This task requires reporting issues experienced by a person in order to be actionable. Upstream has explained already that they are interested in solving specific actual problems but not "X does not conform to standard Y".

TheDJ added a subscriber: TheDJ.EditedMay 21 2016, 10:46 PM

A short list of things I immediately found using VoiceOver:

  1. I get no indication for the interactive elements of notifications (in the top bar)
  2. The search options dropdown has no label
  3. After opening the dropdown with voiceover, I can't close it.
  4. The subtitles in the search options dropdown are skipped
  5. The icons in front of elements in the dropdown of search are read as text
  6. The remove button for actions in "Take Action" does not have a label indicating its function
  7. The same for the x on the label of users and project tags
  8. The icons in front of tags are read as 'text' and don't have a label
  9. There is meaning to the color of tags, but this is not communicated (in this case could probably be as simply as pronouncing the color)
  10. The modal dialogs do not carry a role identifying them as dialogs
  11. When opening a modal dialog, your focus jumps you straight to the submit button. User has no indication that a dialog has opened.

There are probably a ton more.

That is helpful. Thank you a lot, TheDJ!

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