Accessibility on the Mac: Progress report Jan 30, 2012

After my blog post about the accessibility of Firefox on Mac OS X ramping up stirred up so much interest (thanks again to everyone who commented!), I thought you’d like to hear a bit about the progress we’ve made since then.

When I wrote the original blog post, what we had was very basic content rendering to VoiceOver or Accessibility Verifier. And I mean really basic. We had just crossed the point where loading a second page, or opening a new tab, would actually tell VoiceOver what content there was. Previously, it would not even take notice of the new content and still show the old stuff. Also, the web area was just now then being announced as “HTML content” by VoiceOver, like in Safari.

Since then Hub:

Pretty amazing, eh?

Of course, there are still quite a number of things left to do. To name a few:

As you can see, we still have quite some work ahead of us, and we’ll undoubtedly find more along the way, and with your help once I announce a build that has less known bugs than this above list. ;-)

8 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for keeping us up to date on the progress of the work! I look forward to being able to run my favourite browser on my favourite OS.

    If I may be so bold, may I ask an unrelated question in this space? If you want to avoid high-jacking the discussion, feel free to delete it or answer me privately:
    I have two Windows computers running Firefox now, and was trying to set up Firefox Sync with them. First off, I had a little problem with the audio captcha when signing up for Firefox sync: it just would not play, saying I was missing a plugin. Thankfully, someone directed me towards the fact that installing VLC will fix this problem. Perhaps this could be indicated somehow? Second off, after getting sync set up on my first machine, when trying to add my second machine, I need to get a code off of the first machine. Unfortunately, I cannot get NVDA to read this code to me. Is this a known problem? Am I doing something wrong? Is there a recommended, accessible, way to set up Firefox Sync? This is, obviously, entirely the wrong place for this discussion. What is the right one? Thanks for bearing with me!

  2. @Fritz, nope, we’re talking about special builds I get from a project branch of our code. This is currently not even in regular nightly builds yet. But we’re hoping to enable accessibility for Mac OS by default on Nightlies soon, and if that proves successful and we have something that feels like we can live with, we’ll allow the uplift to Aurora and through the chain up to a release. So this is still a bit away.

  3. Wow, awesome improvements. I really hope Java applications will work better with Voiceover in the new Firefox than it currently does in Safari. The login page on my bank uses Java, which isn’t very accessible at the moment. I can’t log into my bank on the Mac, and people have different experiences according to what bank they’re using. It would be awesome if you could make some improvements there. I can’t wait to use Web vissum in Firefox on my Mac!

  4. @SLJ, what you probably mean is JavaScript, the language that is used to create dynamic web pages, right? If you really mean Java, which is a completely different language and technology despite the similarity in names, we will probably not be able to offer anything other than what the plugin that Safari would use has to offer. Java is not built into browsers, its services are provided by plugins, and on Mac OS, that’s one plugin for all browsers.

    If you meant JavaScript, however, we certainly hope to be better at all of the web technology support than safari once we got the basics working!

  5. Thanks for the heads-up, Marco, and keep up the good work. I’m looking forward to using Firefox. I have a question for you. Will the current extensions in Firefox work on the Mac, or do they have to be built from scratch, too? I’m mainly interested in WebVisum. Thanks.

  6. Hi,

    This is excellent progress. I have procured that Mac I discussed in the prior Firefox/Mac A11y post, and am looking forward to testing this out. Keep up the great work! Firefox forever! :)

What are your thoughts?