Chart Reader is a prototype accessibility engine that renders accessible data visualizations. Our goal is to enable screen reader users to navigate and consume a chart as a data experience by synthesizing hierarchical navigation, sonification, and cross-cutting insights. Through multiple modalities, Chart Reader addresses user preferences for consuming a chart and the underlying data. The design and implementation of the engine is the result of an iterative co-design study with 10 Microsoft employees. For more details, please see our CHI 2023 Research Paper.

Chart Reader supports keyboard navigation as a first-class user interaction. With keypresses, users navigate a hierarichical chart element structure that includes x- and y- axes, data insights, individual data points, and filters. Chart Reader renders an SVG chart according to the Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) standard. Using accessibility standards allows for the chart element currently in focus to be announced by the screen reader and to be visually highlighted.

See example charts rendered by Chart Reader. Three inputs are needed to render a chart: a data table, a chart configuration object, and list of data insights. Visit the Github repository for more information on how to use Chart Reader.

The current Chart Reader prototype is open-sourced on Github: The prototype is developed and open-sourced by Microsoft.