Quick Navigation keys now in nightly builds of Firefox native for Android

Yes, you heard correctly! Accessible Firefox for Android nightly builds, as of June 13, have quick navigation keys that those who are blind are most likely familiar with from the desktop screen reader world! In short, these are single letter key presses that allow a blind user using speech output to quickly skim a page for certain elements. Whereas a sighted person can simply glance at the screen to get an idea of the structure, surfing using a screen reader is much more sequentially, and thus most screen readers implement a mechanism to allow a blind person to skim a page nearly as effectively as a sighted person can. This is done by allowing direct jumps to certain types of elements. Especially when one knows a page well, this allows for rapid navigation and interaction.

And the greatest beauty is that it doesn’t matter whether you’re using a physical keyboard, a Bluetooth keyboard connected to your Android device, or the Eyes-Free keyboard in typing mode to use them!

Here’s a list of keys currently implemented. All of them will move in the opposite direction if used together with the shift key.

List of quick navigation keys for accessible Firefox for Android
Key Description
a Moves to next named anchor
b Moves to next button
c Moves to next combobox or listbox
e Moves to next text entry or password field
f Moves to next form field (button, combobox, text entry, radio button, slider, checkbox)
g Moves to next graphic
h Moves to next heading of any level
i Moves to next item in an unordered, ordered or definition list
k Moves to next hyperlink
l Moves to next unordered, ordered or definition list
p Moves to next page tab (in ARIA-enabled web apps)
r Moves to next radio button
s Moves to next separator
t Moves to next data table
x Moves to next checkbox

This should allow much easier and faster navigation on most web sites. To use them, simply arrow into web content, they do not work while you are in the browser UI parts. We also do not allow quick navigation if you’re focused on an entry or password field inside a web form, since you’ll want to enter text into that. You have to use the directional controller or d-pad to move out of the entry field first, and then use quick navigation keys. If you’re using the Eyes-Free keyboard, you can switch to typing mode even when you’re not focused on an entry, and use the quick navigation keys.

Happy browsing!

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Comments

3 Responses to Quick Navigation keys now in nightly builds of Firefox native for Android

  1. David Bolter says:

    … and what Marco left out of his post is that fact that he implemented this feature. Nice one sir.

  2. gary melconian says:

    hello marco, how are you. i am now getting firefox 16 as i have ics and i dont think the othe rfirefox beta will help me out as i dont have jelly bean and firefox beta 17 and firefox 18 dont necesarily help me today but may help me in the future when i do go to jelly bean. for now i will use firefox 16 as my default browser and will use it more and more for browsing on ics phone which have with physical keyboard. thanks for a gret job on all this.

  3. gary melconian says:

    hello can flash plug in or html5 be implemented as i have no means in firefox of playing streaming content. i am using the firefox beta from the play store. if you would like i can even try the nightly one as well. since there is no more flash support for ics or jelly bean it is very hard to play streaming content from anywhere even you tube requires flash or html5. Please support this as soon as possible so then i can at least enjoy my streaming content with firefox for android. is there a plug in or something like that i need to install, please let me know. that is very frustrating that there is no more adobe flash player app for ics or above for android. so plese if you can address the problem this would bea very welcomed solution, and then firerfox will then become my daily browser.

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