Getting Started with Orca and Chrome/Chromium


Be sure you are using at least the following versions:

  • Orca: Version 3.34.1 or later. (Note that 3.34.0 lacks many important fixes for Chrome/Chromium.)

  • Chrome/Chromium version 80.0.3967.0 or later. At the present time, you will need the "dev" channel of Chrome, which you can get from

How to Test

  1. If you're not using the versions of Orca and Chrome/Chromium specified above, there's an excellent chance the bugs you're encountering have already been fixed. Please do not report bugs unless you are using these (or later) versions.
  2. Most of Orca's Chrome/Chromium support is part of its generic web support, the same support used by Orca to provide access to Firefox. Therefore, before you report a bug as a Chrome/Chromium bug, please test the same thing in Firefox. If the bug also exists in Firefox, please do not report it as a Chrome/Chromium bug. (You can of course report it as a generic web or Firefox bug.) We want to quickly identify problems which are only in Chrome/Chromium so we can address them immediately.
  3. When comparing Firefox with Chrome/Chromium to reproduce an issue, you are encouraged to maximize both the Firefox window and the Chrome/Chromium window. Maximizing windows is not normally necessary, of course. And it's not needed for general testing or use. However, some pages dynamically update what gets shown and hidden based on window size. Therefore you will get the most reliable results testing an issue in both Firefox and Chrome/Chromium by ensuring the Firefox and Chrome/Chromium windows have the same size. And the easiest way to ensure they have the same size is to maximize them both.
  4. In Firefox, caret navigation can be toggled on/off with F7. There is no such shortcut (yet) for Chrome/Chromium. However, you can enable Chrome/Chromium's native caret browsing at the command line with --enable-caret-browsing. Doing this is not necessary for reading web pages or using web apps. But it is necessary for text selection.

  5. In Firefox, enabling accessibility support is done automatically if Orca is detected. This does not happen (yet) for Chrome/Chromium. In order to enable accessibility support, you'll need to launch it with --force-renderer-accessibility. In addition, you will want to ensure that ACCESSIBILITY_ENABLED=1 is in your environment.

  6. Most of Chrome/Chromium's keyboard shortcuts are quite similar to Firefox's. But Google has provided a list of Chrome/Chromium's native keyboard shortcuts.

If all of the above makes perfect sense to you, great! Have at it! On the other hand, if it does not or you think you'll need help doing the above, please continue to be patient. We anticipate things will be ready and "just working" out of the box soon enough.

Reporting Bugs

At this time, users are encouraged to report bugs on the Orca mailing list so that other testers can confirm the issue, and so the issue can be triaged to determine if the bug is in Orca or in Chromium.

Known Issues

Some key issues include, but are not limited to:

  • Scrolling done by Orca is not fully working due to some issues in Chromium
  • Chromium's native caret navigation (which is needed for text selection) can occasionally get stuck
  • Some ARIA combo boxes (for example on PayPal, though there are others) are silent due to missing events from Chromium

  • The GMail labels menu items aren't presented when the selected item changes due to missing events from Chromium
  • Presentation of large plain text files has a huge delay due to event floods from Chromium
  • Orca sometimes gets stuck on the github line with the search entry and/or skips over the issue list. This is due to a bug in Chromium, but Orca master has a work around.
  • Links with a title attribute might not be presented correctly due to a bug in Chromium's accessible name calculation
  • Navigation in the active page doesn't work if the dev tools window is open due to a bug in Chromium
  • Because Orca does not receive keyboard events from the Chromium Open and Save As dialogs:
    • Orca commands don't work in these dialogs
    • Arrowing in the location text field in these dialogs is not presented
    • Interruping speech in these dialogs doesn't work.
  • Because Chromium does not always give us the correct value for accessible_at_point, mouse review sometimes fails.
  • Label inference (for form fields that the author didn't properly label) may fail if the widget is off-screen. (Still being debugged.)
  • Because Chromium treats space followed by a quote as a single word boundary (unlike Firefox), Orca is combining two words into one when there's a space followed by a quote. Joanie will address this in Orca as Chromium is technically not wrong; just different.
  • Live region presentation can be super chatty due to tons of events from Chromium. Joanie will attempt to filter the extra events out, but it may need to be fixed in Chromium.

Projects/Orca/Chromium (last edited 2020-03-09 18:17:07 by JoanmarieDiggs)