Microsoft Narrator and some emoticons

Messing around with Windows Narrator, because I found a more complex emoticon I used in the past (>>-x_x–>, an arrow through a dead face) and that led me down the rabbit hole trying to figure out how to make that more accessible. (Short answer: probably too many “standards,” no real way to make it work.)

I tried Apple’s screen reader on an iMac years ago at work. I don’t remember much about the experience, it was pleasant enough, but then I didn’t test it out on any of my old blog posts hahaha! So I don’t know how Apple deals with emoticons. Unless there’s a screen reader on the iPad that I’d have to dig around to test out.

Anyway, here are a few things I noticed with Narrator:

  • Why is “Windows” pronounced as if it rhymes with endows? Isn’t Narrator made by Microsoft?? Confusing.
  • It’ll read some emoticons/punctuation. But it can be inconsistent:
    • Read ^^;; as “caret caret” first (ignoring the semicolons), then “sweating face.” (Which, no! It’s not…sweating! It’s sweatdrops!)
    • Read >.< as “angry face” once, then didn’t read it the second time.
    • The >>-x_x–> emoticon above was read as “x underscore x.”
    • It read ^^ alone as “happy face.” (It’s…not quite…happy, more like bashful happy? Right?)
    • Read o_O; as “confused face” (probably ignoring the semicolon) but o.O was read as “oh dot oh.”
    • It didn’t read >.< but it does understand >_< as “angry face.”
  • For some reason I couldn’t get Narrator to read anything in Pale Moon other than the title of the Window. Strange. I didn’t want to spend my time diagnosing that or trying to figure out Narrator.

I was disappointed it couldn’t read any text coded with abbr and title or aria-label. I supposed there’s a setting I have to configure, but it’s not on by default. So I guess there’s no making emoticons 100% accessible at this point in time. :/ (Read as “uneasy face.” xD [Read as “x d.”]) But at least it read + correctly, so as someone wrote in 2014 that “1+1=2” was often read as “1 1 2”, things have gotten somewhat better over the years…?