I wish all my readers a merry Christmas! Hope everyone will enjoy the free time as much as I intend to do! 🙂

Also, all the best for 2008! May it be an enjoyable, productive, or in any way successful year for you!

Victor Tsaran, accessibility guru at Yahoo!, just posted to the mozilla.dev.accessibility newsgroup that they implemented wai-aria roles and states into the Yahoo! UI’s menu control. You can find the blog post here. To try it out:

  1. From within the blog post, open the link “new YUI example”.
  2. From the article that opens, open the “View Example in new window” link.
  3. On the page that appears, arrow to the first item that starts with “text/html”, and press ENTER on it. This will turn on Forms Mode (in JAWS) or your relevant navigation mode.
  4. Use Left and Right Arrows to navigate the menu bar, use DownArrow to open the menu, just like you would use any ordinary menu.

I tested it, and it works great! Good work, guys!
Note that you need Firefox 3 beta 2 and JAWS 8 or later, or Window-Eyes 6 to take full advantage of this.

Last night, the Orca team announced on their mailinglist that, due to a recent bugfix in the Firefox 3 nightly builds, they were able to drastically improve speed while navigating a web page line by line. I tried it out, and I must say you guys really understated this achievement! It feels like Orca with Firefox is really gearing up now!

A big thanks to both developers of the Mozilla accessibility module and the Orca team for working so closely to make these improvements possible! It shows that the open-source model is one that is really there to benefit all users wherever possible.

If you’re interested in trying out these improvements in responsiveness, get the latest nightly build of Firefox 3, install Py-ATSPI and Orca from source, read the notes on installing and using Firefox 3 with Orca, and have fun with this great improvement!

Note note note: Both Firefox nightlies and Orca installed from source arre products currently under development, so you should use them only for testing, but not expose any valuable data to them without a good backup strategy!

Please see also Orca developer Joanmarie Diggs’s announcement to the Orca list, which tells you all the details of the speed improvement.

By the way: This blog post was created using Firefox nightly of December 20, 2007, and latest Orca trunk from early December 21, which has the speed improvements.