[Development] Qt and accessibility, some critical questions

Gladhorn Frederik Frederik.Gladhorn at digia.com
Fri Mar 21 22:28:35 CET 2014

Hello Vincenzo,

On Friday 21. March 2014 10.52.34 Vincenzo Rubano wrote:
> Hi all,
> since I am blind, I need my applications to be as accessible as possible.
> However, working with QT under Mac OS X, I feel that there are some
> important accessibility issues in the framework.

Feedback is very welcome. You are right that the Mac accessibility implementation is lagging a bit behind in some areas. I would say your mail comes with good timing right now, I just spent some time fixing issues in this area.

> I thought I was doing something wrong in my first basic programs, so I
> decided to investigate further by trying out the examples shipped with the
> QT Source. However, there are the same (critical) accessibility issues.
> So, I’m wondering if there’s anyone who worked on QT Accessibility or
> created any accessible QT-Based application. I strongly need some feedback
> about QT Accessibility because I need to understand wether it is worth
> spending my time learning QT or if I’d better pick up another framework and
> learn that. Accessibility is really critical for me and I hope te issues
> I’m experiencing (unable to tab through different widgets, unable to edit a
> QTextEdit or a QLineEdit widget text with my screen reader, etc) are not
> bugs in the QT framework.

I have actually started looking at where we go wrong a bit in the last few days. QTextEdit and friends would basically not be read by VoiceOver, that has been fixed two days ago, so the fix is in Qt 5.3.0, there at least reading the text, also line by line works.

I have one big task open for Mac currently:
which means digging into the model view accessibility implementation we have and making it work on Mac.

I expect that it will not make it into Qt 5.3 since it is somewhat involved and probably requires quite some changes to implement the protocol properly. I have not really investigated it yet though.

I am currently looking at why we notifications are not working in the current implementation that we have. I assume that would fix the text editing issues we face in QLineEdit and similar. And also the focus navigation which is not working properly. For focus handling there was already a small fix for 5.3 as well, making it settable by ATs.
There are two issues with our notifications at the moment, one is that we don't use native NSViews as much and it seems like there were some recent fixes by Apple in 10.9 that enable notifications for this case, another is that we actually so far keep on re-creating the accessible objects on demand. I'm investigating keeping them alive longer and expect this to be fixed eventually. I cannot make promises as to when this will all be implemented, I currently aim for 5.4.

For me the best way to justify spending time on this (and structuring the work) are of course good bug reports when you find more issues then the ones listed above. Please let me know if you are interested in testing. I would appreciate feedback on the state of Qt 5.3 for example. I believe the QTextEdit fixes made it into the beta, but of course building from git is always an option.


> Thank you in advance for your help.
> Vincenzo.
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