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Helpers to build accessible selectable components like checkboxes or radio buttons in React Native
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README.md

React Native Accessible Selectable

npm

Helpers to build accessible selectable components like checkboxes or radio buttons in React Native

The Problem:

On double tap VoiceOver reads the content of the focused element. When you try to build a custom checkbox and make it accessible, you probably want to add selected to the accessibilityTraits, depending on whether the checkbox is currently checked or not. This will work well in the beginning. You will hear VoiceOver say the following (assuming your component also has the button trait:

  • focus an unselected checkbox: LABEL, "button"
  • toggle an unselected checkbox: "selected", LABEL
  • focus a selected checkbox: "selected", LABEL, "button"
  • toggle a selected checkbox: LABEL

However, as your app gets more complex you might notice VoiceOver that seems to mess up your labels, saying the following instead:

  • focus an unselected checkbox: LABEL, "button"
  • toggle an unselected checkbox: LABEL, "selected", LABEL, "button"
  • focus a selected checkbox: "selected", LABEL, "button"
  • toggle a selected checkbox: "selected", LABEL, LABEL, "button"

Why? Through testing I found that if you change your components state ~75ms - 1000ms after the double tab, VoiceOver already started reading the current state of your component. It finishes reading the current state and then reads the changed state. Confusing 🤔.

While you should probably do other optimizations when your app takes 1 second to rerender, 75ms is still in an acceptable range.

The Solution:

This library solves this problem by toggling the "selected" state immediately on the native side. All you need to do to use it, is to wrap your component in a call to makeSelectable. The downside is, that you cannot cancel the toggle anymore. Your component will now have the same restriction as the native Switch component.

This problem is inherent for VoiceOver. TalkBack does not have this issue because it does not read the currently focused element's content on double tap. However it also does not give any feedback when toggling between radiobutton_checked and radiobutton_unchecked state. This library implements the suggestion from the React Native accessibility docs and sends a manual click event to accounce this state change.

Getting started

$ npm install react-native-accessible-selectable --save

Mostly automatic installation

$ react-native link react-native-accessible-selectable

Manual installation

iOS

  1. In Xcode, in the project navigator, right click LibrariesAdd Files to [your project's name]
  2. Go to node_modulesreact-native-accessible-selectable and add RNAccessibleSelectable.xcodeproj
  3. In Xcode, in the project navigator, select your project. Add libRNAccessibleSelectable.a to your project's Build PhasesLink Binary With Libraries
  4. Run your project (Cmd+R)

Android

The library doesn't use any native code for Android.

Usage

import { TouchableNativeFeedback, TouchableOpacity } from "react-native";
import { makeSelectable } from "react-native-accessible-selectable";

const SelectableTouchable = makeSelectable(
    Platform.select({
        android: TouchableNativeFeedback,
        ios: TouchableOpacity
    })
);

type Props = {
    label: string,
    checked: boolean,
    onChange: () => void
};

class MyCheckbox extends React.PureComponent<Props> {
    render() {
        const { label, checked, onChange } = this.props;

        return (
            <SelectableTouchable
                accessibilityComponentType={
                    checked ? "radiobutton_checked" : "radiobutton_unchecked"
                }
                accessibilityTraits={
                    checked ? ["button", "selected"] : ["button"]
                }
                onPress={onChange}
            >
                <Text>{label}</Text>
                <Image source={checked ? checkboxChecked : checkboxUnchecked} />
            </SelectableTouchable>
        );
    }
}
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