Screen readers

Note: even if you are an experienced screen reader user, we request that you read these instructions, especially the sections on Recording Your Vote Preferences or Choices on a ballot.

If you are encountering difficulties voting online with a screen reader, you may cast your vote using the telephone by calling iVote Helpdesk on 1300 6 iVote (1300 64 86 83) or from outside Australia call +61 8 9214 7200.

After accessibility testing and consultation at VisAbility in Perth, the following outcomes need to be considered:

  • BrailleNote Touch (Android 4.4) has accessibility issues and is not compatible with iVote.
  • ZoomText is accessible with the Microsoft IE/Edge, Chrome and Firefox, however the ballot papers do not present well in Doc Reader and a better experience is gained by having the App Reader enabled.
  • NVDA is accessible with the Microsoft IE/Edge, Firefox and Chrome, however Firefox users should use the tab key for navigation. It was also important to activate the ‘out of form’ mode to read pop up messages.
  • Jaws (version 17 and 18) performs well with the Microsoft IE/Edge, Chrome and Firefox.
  • MacOS 10 (El Capitan) with VoiceOver is fully accessible with Safari.
  • Using VoiceOver on iOS devices has accessibility issues and is not recommended at this stage.

Using iVote with Windows Screen Readers

iVote by Web includes W3C-Compliant ARIA landmarks to make the navigation experience in the iVote system more efficient for users who have an ARIA-aware screen reader such as JAWS 12 or NVDA.

iVote by web has been designed with accessibility in mind, but the process of voting online involves extensive navigation of complex forms, especially if you intend voting below the line on the Legislative Council ballot.

This reliance on forms means that you will need a strong familiarity with completing website forms with your screen reader. For example knowing how to activate and deactivate forms mode in JAWS or how to switch browse mode off or on in Window Eyes.

For best results, it is recommended that you first review each ballot page with forms mode off in JAWS or with browse mode on in Window Eyes, to understand its overall layout and general operation.

Then you can activate forms mode or disable browse mode to start adding choices to the ballot. The Tab key is the most reliable way to move between groups or candidates on the ballot.

The ballot layout for the Legislative Council

The ballot page for the Legislative Council is made up of two parts: Above the Line and Below the Line. You may vote either Above the Line OR Below the Line. Above the line, the parties, groups or candidates are listed horizontally. Below the line, the candidates for each party or group are listed vertically. At the top of each candidate list there is a link which will move you directly to the next column. At the bottom of each group of candidates there is a link that will return you to the top of the column you are currently on.

Recording Your Vote Preferences or Choices on a ballot

To add a choice or preference, you need to be in Forms Mode in JAWS or have Browse mode turned off in Window eyes.

When you are on a candidate to whom you wish to give your next vote preference, type the N key when in the edit box for that candidate, to allocate them your next choice number.

Note: Although your screen reader won't automatically announce the preference number given to that candidate when you press the letter N, the number is automatically inserted into the edit box. You can check this by using the current line command in your screen reader.

Important note: Pressing the letter N is the only way to add a vote preference or choice number to a candidate or group with a screen reader. iVote by Web does not accept numbers typed into edit boxes on the ballot. If you try to type numbers into edit boxes, your screen reader may speak the digits you type, but they will not appear in the edit box.

ARIA Landmarks

If you have a recent version of JAWS or some other screen readers such as NVDA, then you will notice that there are ARIA landmarks on some of the ballot pages. ARIA landmarks allow you to jump very quickly to different parts of the webpage.

For example, in iVote by Web, on the Legislative Council Ballot, the ARIA landmarks move you between Above the Line and Below the Line voting, and also provide a very quick way to move to the top of each group of candidates listed below the line.

In JAWS, when you are out of forms mode, you can move to the next landmark by pressing the semicolon key and return to the previous landmark by pressing Shift semicolon. You can also bring up a list of all ARIA Landmarks on the page by pressing insert with control with the semicolon key.

If your screen reader doesn't support ARIA Landmarks, then you are still able to move from group to group when voting below the line by using the jump links found at the top and bottom of each group.

Accessing iVote By Web using VoiceOver on the Mac.

You can use all the standard webpage navigation and interaction features of VoiceOver to review and complete ballots in iVote by Web.

Recording Your Vote Preferences or Choices on a ballot

When you are on the edit box for a group or candidate to which you wish to give your next choice, type the N key when in the edit box for that group or candidate to allocate them your next choice number.

Note: VoiceOver will announce the preference or choice number a second or so after you press the N key.

Important note: Pressing the letter N is the only way to add a vote preference or choice number to a candidate or group with VoiceOver. iVote by Web does not accept numbers typed into edit boxes on the ballot. If you try to type numbers into edit boxes, VoiceOver may speak the digits you type, but they will not appear in the edit box.

ARIA Landmarks

VoiceOver on the Mac provides some support of ARIA Landmarks, and you can also move between below the line groups using the navigation links at the top and bottom of each group.

You can keep this help window open for reference, or you can close it and return to iVote by Web.