Accessibility ranking of Jitsi

Yesterday a ranking of Jitsi with regards to accessibility (a11y) was published on a website for Dutch public servants. Jitsi was compared to Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts/Meet and Skype. Jitsi was the only FOSS solution tested.

Jitsi was ranked last for accessibility and last for ease of use.

Personally I have good experiences with Jitsi, but I have good sight and hearing.

Accessibility is a strong consideration for governments to choose software solutions.

Here is a translation of the evaluation:

Jitsi is a free, open source videoconferencing tool that, because of its easy method of participation (from the browser, no account or name required), makes it very easy to join a meeting. A call is started by providing a name for a meeting on the Jitsi website. This yields a link that can be used as an invitation for other participants.
After Tom [a blind tester] was invited for a meeting he experienced several problems. To join a meeting one has to fill out a name on the Jitsi website. While this is not done, random names are shown in the entry field. These names are read by the screen reader. Since these names have no logic, this is confusing. Once in the meeting, Tom encountered another issue. Because no-one needs an account or a name, everyone has the same name initially. This makes it hard to with whom you are speaking. We found out much later that it is possible to set a name in the program options.
Another confusion is the presence of pop-ups that are not essential for the main function of the site like calendaring. After these pop-ups were dismissed by mouse click, Tom did not manage to use the buttons Jitsi any more. Tom could join the meeting, but could not perform any actions on the site.
We do not recommend using Jitsi for videoconferencing because of these issues for meeting in which people with a disability participate.

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Any help in form of PRs is very welcome. We had several other reports about that, but we are out of resources to do anything about it, at the moment. Maybe after few months or more when things slow down, we will be able to take a look, but for now our hands are full and any help is welcome.

I really like the idea to look into a11y.
I took the liberty and tackled the first issue mentioned in the document and even created a PR: https://github.com/jitsi/jitsi-meet/pull/5740

I added a to the room name input field, so that screen readers should be able to “explain” the input field to the users.

Feedback is welcome!

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Would it be worth emphasising the keyboard shortcuts available?

If the community at Jitsi would ever need help, the Web Accessibility community is open to you: https://web-a11y.slack.com/

Please feel free to join and ask anything from individual problems to “Where can I start?”.

If you need an invite let us know your Slack handles.

We also have a blind colleague who was participating in a meeting today who tells me, that he could not see the chat system with his screen reader.
As they had audio problems in the meeting, he didn’t realize they were talking in the chat about leaving the meeting.
So please consider this when reworking the GUI with accessibility in mind.

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Hello,

Thanks a lot for this message. Our company aims to integrate Jitsi in some Web Apps. But it is really very bad idea, because this tool is not at all accessible yet.

I would appriciate if the lead developers could start the Accessibility initiative for Jitsi. I am myself blind and an Accessibility specialist at [Fabasoft]{https://www.fabasoft.com} Company in Linz (Austria). I could help by consulting the implementation work.

Ciao Mario