Alamo Colleges District

Accessibility with LockDown Browser

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LockDown Browser meets all web content accessibility guidelines, as documented in our Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). LockDown Browser also works with many assistive technologies, with details listed below.

Screen Readers
  • Windows: The Windows version of LockDown Browser is tested and works with NVDA, JAWS, and MS-Windows Narrator.  Respondus recommends using the screen reader NVDA on Windows. 
  • Mac: The Mac and iPad versions of LockDown Browser are tested and work with VoiceOver (the standard screen reader that comes with the Mac OS). LockDown Browser's functions and security remain the same when VoiceOver is used. More about VoiceOver.
  • Chrome OS (Chromebooks): The LockDown Browser for Chromebook Extension is tested and works with ChromeVox. ChromeVox is built in to the Chrome OS and can be triggered by using the following key combination: Ctrl+Alt+Z.

This is not an exhaustive list of screen readers that work with LockDown Browser, but are the ones Respondus tested and verify. LockDown Browser's functions and security remain the same when these screen readers are used.  Browser does not block screen readers, and conforms to WCAG 2.0, so screen readers not listed here will likely work too.

Keyboard Navigation

The following is a list of Respondus LockDown Browser keyboard shortcuts for Windows and macOS that may assist students with disabilities. Although many of the below shortcuts work within standard web browsers, some are unique to Respondus LockDown Browser.

Text-to-Speech (also known as “read aloud” or “literacy” software)
  • Kurzweil ReadTheWeb (Windows and Mac): LockDown Browser offers a built-in Kurzweil ReadTheWeb extension. More about Kurzweil
  • Texthelp Read&Write (Windows): LockDown Browser has a custom integration with Read&Write. When a student is using LockDown Browser, a “lockdown mode” setting will be applied to the Read&Write toolbar, preventing certain features from being used during an exam (e.g., web searches). The reader and Screen Masking functions remain available to students during the exam. More about Read&Write
  • ReadSpeaker webReader for the LMS (Windows and Mac): When WebReader is embedded within a learning system, it will work seamlessly with LockDown Browser with some security limitations (e.g., copy/paste and MP3 downloads are disabled). The reading, masking, and text enlarging functions remain available to students during an exam.
  • ReadSpeaker TextAid (Windows): The “bookmarklet” version of TextAid works with LockDown Browser on Windows computers.
  • Speech (MacOS 10.15 or older): Speech works with LockDown Browser, however it does not read multiple choice or true/false answer choices correctly in all LMS integrations. This issue and a potential fix is being investigated by Respondus.

  • Spoken Content (MacOS 11.0 or newer): Speak Selection will work with LockDown Browser and all LMS integrations, although it works differently than Speech. It requires the use of the hot key (Option + ESC) to read the text audibly. (Note: There is an issue with Canvas Classic Quizzes and Speak Selection during LockDown Browser exams, so we recommend using VoiceOver as an alternative for Classic Quizzes.)
  • Others: Because many text to speech (TTS) applications include advanced functionality that would be considered exploits within LockDown Browser, portions of these programs cannot run on top of a LockDown Browser window. These programs are not blocked, however some functionality may be limited while using LockDown Browser (e.g., Natural Reader).
Speech-to-Text (also known as “Voice-to-Text,” or “dictation” software)

Windows Speech RecognitionIn our testing, we have found that Windows Speech Recognition can have difficulty identifying what is said. To help improve the speech recognition, we recommend using a headset with a microphone.

How to start Speech Recognition:

  • Press Windows Start button and type “Control Panel” and select the first search result.
  •  Go to “Ease of Access” > “Speech Recognition” > “Start Speech Recognition”

How to use:

  • After starting Speech Recognition, an overlay will appear at the top of the screen.
  •  Select the microphone button to make the Speech Recognition hear your voice. Deselect the microphone button to ensure the software is not listening for commands.
  • After clicking the button, you can enter text into text fields by speaking. This functionality will continue to work after opening Respondus LockDown Browser.

Note: Currently the text editor does not permit the Windows Speech Recognition’s voice-to-text feature to work on essay type questions in Canvas and Blackboard. This is a known issue outside of LockDown Browser.

Mac Voice Control: The VoiceOver accessibility feature works with the Mac version of LockDown Browser. However, there are some differences in the way that VoiceOver functionality is accessed in each learning management system. The following notes may be helpful for students using VoiceOver.

Beginning an Exam

• For the pre-exam webcam checks and at the start of exams, students will often need to press the Control + Option + Shift + Down Arrow keys once for each new page to get to the web content area.
• D2L Brightspace exception:  At the start of exams, the student can immediately start navigating with VoiceOver by using the Control + Option + Right or Left Arrow keys.


• Students can press the Control + Option + Right Arrow keys (or Left Arrow to go back up the page) for VoiceOver to access content and buttons on the page.
• If a student is stuck on a certain area in the page, it can be helpful to press the tab key to skip to a different group of content.

Multiple Choice Questions

• Options for multiple choice questions can be selected by pressing the Control + Option + Spacebar keys.

Fill in the Blank Questions

• When VoiceOver says “Text Field”, students are able to start typing their answer to the fill in the blank question. After they have done so, they can move to the next question by pressing the Control + Option + Right Arrow keys.

Matching Questions

• Press the Control + Command + Spacebar keys to open the drop-down menu.
• Use the Up and Down Arrow keys to scroll through the options.
• Press the Control + Command + Spacebar keys to select the option.

Essay Questions

In Blackboard and Canvas, Essay questions require additional user actions to access the text field:

• When the VoiceOver says "Frame 0" press Control + Option + Shift + Down Arrow to enter the text field area for typing the answers to essay questions. (See image below)
• To exit the text field, press the Control + Option + Shift + Up Arrow keys until VoiceOver states "Frame 0" again.
• After doing so, you can move on to the next question by pressing the Control + Option + Right Arrow keys. 

Mac Voice Control:

How to enable Voice Control:

  • Click on the Apple button in the top left and select “System Preferences”.
  • Go to “Accessibility” > “Voice Control” and click on the box next to “Enable Voice Control.”

How to use:

  • After enabling Voice Control, an overlay will appear in the lower right of the screen. You can temporarily mute the Voice Control so it does not listen for commands by clicking on the “Sleep” button on the overlay. You can then press ‘Wake up’ in the same place so that Voice Control listens for commands.
  •  To turn speech into text within a LockDown Browser required exam, select the text field, say ‘Show keyboard’, and wait for the keyboard to appear.
  • After doing so, you can then talk to type out words into text fields within the LockDown Browser required exam.

Note: Currently the text editor does not permit the Mac Voice Control’s voice-to-text feature to work on essay type questions in Canvas and Blackboard. This is a known issue outside of LockDown Browser.

ChromeOS Dictation: Works with LockDown Browser, with some limitations. More about ChromeOS Dictation.

Nuance Dragon: Dragon is not blocked by LockDown Browser during an exam, but some functionality may be limited. Users have reported that adjusting the settings to turn off the dictation box will allow Dragon to work with LockDown Browser.

  • Zoom Text: Zoom Text works during a LockDown Browser exam. 
Word Prediction
  • Windows Typing Suggestions: This built-in OS feature works within LockDown Browser during an exam. To enable it, go to Settings > Typing > Hardware keyboard and turn on the "Show text suggestions as I type" setting.


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