Accessibility of Command Line Interfaces

CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems(2021)


Command line interfaces (CLIs) remain a popular tool among developers and system administrators. Since CLIs are text based interfaces, they are sometimes considered accessible alternatives to predominantly visual developer tools like IDEs. However, there is no systematic evaluation of accessibility of CLIs in the literature. In this paper, we describe two studies with 12 developers on their experience of using CLIs with screen readers. Our findings show that CLIs have their own set of accessibility issues - the most important being CLIs are unstructured text interfaces. Based on our findings, we provide a set of recommendations for improving accessibility of command line interfaces.