Putting final touches on Firefox 3 accessibility

Over the past weeks the developers and I have been spending time putting the final touches on Firefox 3 accessibility. Here are some of the things worth noting:

  • On Linux, the Library dialog will be working correctly in the upcoming RC1. We had a problem with tree tables changing content which we weren’t handling correctly.
  • In an image accessible’s attributes, we’re exposing the SRC value, starting in today’s nightly. This will allow screen readers to use the ATK/IA2 APIs and not have to rely on the older iSimple* interfaces any longer that previously exposed this information.
  • Also with images, there is a change in the pipeline that will enhance the name finding for an image in the form that, if the author specified an ALT attribute with an empty string as content, but also specified a title, the title is being used even though an alt is present. Screen readers such as JAWS and Window-Eyes apply this magic by themselves right now, and we’re helping out to give the image accessible the proper name in most, if not all, thinkable circumstances.
  • Through triage of sent in crashes from beta 5, we were able to find and fix a couple of crashers that, though rare, could cause some grief on some pages. This again demonstrates that sending in crash reports is very very useful for us, especially since these were all crashes we didn’t catch before. People use software in different ways, and this helps us get prepared for most cases.
  • A few final touches on the ARIA implementation give Firefox 3 a really all-round appearance.

We’ve come a long way since I started to contribute to Firefox 3 accessibility QA as a community member, and I am really happy with the way Firefox 3 is turning out.

4 comments:

  1. Are these final touches why one of my shortcut combos does not work anymore? I usually use right ALT+D to get to the address bar and in the nightlies from the past week or so, I haven’t been able to do so. However, though awkward, I can access the address bar from using left ALT+D. I figure this is a minor error, though. It’s just very inconvenient for us keyboard-dependent users. I didn’t notice a bug filed for it, but I got tired of looking after a while. Hope to see a remedy soon, though. Take care.

  2. Hi Joshua, you may want to follow bug 359638, and see if one of the dependent or blocking bugs mentions your problem. If not, I suggest you file a bug ASAP, since that bug fix is most likely the cause.

  3. @Joshua H.: Looks like bug 431468 is a bug you should watch. I’m surprised though that no other English-speaker stumbled across this earlier and filed a bug accordingly.

  4. ARIA support in Firefox is exciting. Maybe it’s time to throw a coming-of-age party for ARIA! I know I’ll be paying more attention to the ARIA standards now.

    – Edward

What are your thoughts?