What are some examples of accessible programming languages?

There are a few programming languages have accessibility features built in. Examples are described below.

  • Quorum is a programming language originally designed for individuals who are blind or have low vision, but is used by other individuals as well. It was inspired by two observations: (1) much of the computer science education literature relies on visual representations and (2) text-based programming in languages with traditional syntax (e.g., C++ or Java or Python’s whitespace rules) are difficult to understand through audio. Quorum uses human factors data as an evidence-foundation.
  • Bootstrap is a program designed to be accessible to students with a broad range of disabilities, including visual and sensorimotor impairments. The language and all its interactive elements are accessible by screen reader. Its structured editor and block programming editor both have accessibility-enabled features, which can read code based on meaning instead of syntax and provide a hands-free drag and drop.
  • Myna, a vocal user interface, was created so that users can program block-based languages purely by voice. Although originally developed to work with Scratch v1.4, Myna has been extended to work with additional block-based languages (e.g., Lego Mindstorms, Scratch v2.0, Snap!, Pixly, Spherly). Myna is responsive to the problem that some individuals with motor impairments find block-based languages, such as Scratch to be difficult or impossible to use because they require the use of the mouse and keyboard.

For more information about accessible programming in the K-12 environment, consult Increasing the Participation of Students with Disabilities in K-12 Computing.