Understanding Screen Readers' Plugins

Screen reader plugins are small pieces of code that blind users can download and install to enhance the capabilities of their screen readers. In this paper, we aim to understand the user experience of screen readers’ plugins, as well as their developers, distribution model, and maintenance. To this end, we conducted a study with 14 blind screen reader users. Our study revealed that screen reader users rely on plugins for various reasons, e.g., to improve the usability of both screen readers and application software, to make partially accessible applications accessible, and to enable custom shortcuts and commands. Furthermore, installing plugins is easy; uninstalling them is unlikely; and finding them online is ad hoc, challenging, and poses security threats. In addition, developing screen reader plugins is technically demanding; only a handful of people develop plugins, and they are well-recognized in the community. Finally, there is no central repository for plugins for most screen readers, and most plugins do not receive updates from their developers and become obsolete. The lack of financial incentives plays in the slow growth of the plugin ecosystem. Based on our findings, we recommend creating a central repository for all plugins, engaging third-party developers, and raising general awareness about the benefits and dangers of plugins. We believe our findings will inspire researchers to embrace the plugin-based distribution model as an effective way to combat application-level accessibility issues.

© Momotaz None. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in '', https://dx.doi.org/10.1145/10.1145/3441852.3471205.


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Work Title Understanding Screen Readers' Plugins
Open Access
  1. Farhani Momotaz
  2. Md Touhidul Islam
  3. Md Ehtesham-Ul-Haque
  4. Syed Masum Billah
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. ACM
Publication Date October 17, 2021
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. 10.1145/3441852.3471205
  1. The 23rd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility
Deposited February 23, 2022




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Version 1

  • Created
  • Added Plugins_assets-1.pdf
  • Added Creator Farhani Momotaz
  • Added Creator Md Touhidul Islam
  • Added Creator Md Ehtesham-Ul-Haque
  • Added Creator Syed Masum Billah
  • Published
  • Updated
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