After the Easter holidays, pace has picked up again in the development of accessibility features and other work surrounding our eco system.

Actions for sorting and expansion/collapsing

After some minor setbacks, David’s patch on exposing actions for ARIA sort and expand/collapse attributes finally landed today. This means that:

  • An element that has aria-sort set, will expose an action of “sort” to assistive technologies.
  • An element that has aria-expanded set to “true” will expose an action of “collapse”, one that has aria-expanded set to “false” will expose an action of “expand”.

These can be used to exactly determine what action will be performed once it is being performed.

Exposure of the HTML5 audio and video element controls

Alexander’s patch to expose the embedded controls of the HTML 5 video and audio elements has landed on mozilla-central. With NVDA, one can now see the grouping where the controls are, and invoke the action on each of the buttons. One can even switch to focus mode on the sliders and use the arrow keys to manipulate them. Note: Due toa different approach in reading our information, JAWS does not yet expose these controls despite this patch. Other screen readers are pending tests.

There are a few problems still which will be addressed soonish: For one, the buttons don’t have text labels yet, and the slider percentage values reflect times rather than actual percentages, so we need to see how we’re going to expose this properly.

In other news

The team, along with a number of community members, has worked on a new high-level accessibility strategy document. Frank Hecker has a blog post explaining this in greater detail.

Spreading the good work of ARIA to mainstream open-source CMS

Peter Krantz, accessibility expert from Sweden, has started an effort to contribute WAI-ARIA landmark roles to mainstream open-source content management systems. If you know one of the CMS that don’t have patches yet, feel free to jump in!

That’s it for this week, see you next week for a new edition!

The extension Feed Sidebar by Christopher Finke is a small extension that allows to view one’s Live Bookmarks in a sidebar, much like one would view history or bookmarks. It is not a new RSS feed management, but instead operates on the live bookmarks one has in the profile via the “Subscribe to this page” option from the “Bookmarks” menu.

In the version that is currently on, there are several problems with missing label7control associations in the Options dialog as well as problems navigating the tree, and more importantly, opening a feed article via the keyboard.

Not too long ago, I contributed a patch to the project to fix these problems, and Chris has accepted it and put it into a recent beta version of Feed Sidebar. He also made it possible to access the sorting options from the context menu.

The latest beta brings a better updating mechanism that is less resource hungry.

For those of you who have asked me about a way to view feeds in a tree like structure, this is definitely worth a try! Go download the latest beta version here! I’ve found it to be very stable and accessible. Of course, feedback is welcome! You can either contact Chris directly of course, or leave a comment here, I’ll then forward it to him.


I just published an article on how to use NVDA and Firefox to do website testing.

This article can be found on the front page of my blog under the “Pages” section, in the “Articles” sublist.

The article is meant as an introduction, not as a replacement for the NVDA user guide, and it is certainly not meant to replace other accessibility testing tools you might use for your website testing, just as an additional tool to help you get a feel for how blind users interact with your web sites or web applications.

I plan to update the article periodically as new versions of NVDA become available, features are added and other info relevant to the article might change.

Enjoy the read, and feel free to leave feedback!