Accessibility features in Firefox for iOS

After ten months in development, Mozilla today released Firefox for iOS worldwide. Firefox for iOS is bringing your synchronized bookmarks, history and other information associated with your Firefox account to the iOS platform. Moreover, it is also going to record pages you visit in your history and sync these back to your Firefox on Windows, Linux, Mac, and even Android devices.

From the start, we also made sure that Firefox for iOS supports multiple features of the iOS platform. Here are some highlights:

VoiceOver

Firefox for iOS supports VoiceOver. Since Apple’s app store rules force us to use the Safari rendering engine, that is accessible anyway. But we also made sure the browser’s UI, Settings views and other features all talk well with VoiceOver. Moreover, we also implemented audio cues to indicate page load progress and finish. Those of you using NVDA might feel a certain familiarity with these sounds. 😉

We are also taking advantage of the iOS 8 feature of custom actions in various places. So when you start to learn Firefox for iOS, make sure to turn on VoiceOver hints so you get notified when custom actions are available.

Some things we did not get to yet, but which are on our list of things to do are:

System font

We respect the system font setting in the UI. The web site could, of course, still set its own fonts, but all the accessibility settings pertaining to the Web View will work as they do in Safari.

Bold text setting

The Bold Text accessibility setting is respected. You can expect the UI to respond to changing this setting in your iOS system settings.

Switch control

Like VoiceOver, switch control should work in the browser UI. We also tried to always make sure that switch control cannot go to any hidden controls or the like that are not really actionable at a given time.

Some known issues

Where to get it?

Firefox for iOS is freely available on the iOS App Store. It runs on iOS 8 and later.

6 thoughts on “Accessibility features in Firefox for iOS”

  1. Marco, do you know if it supports overriding the viewport use scale restrictions that authors can put on pages to prevent pinch zoom? This is a big issue for low vision users and most browsers except for Safari and Chrome on iOS support this now. I’d check it myself but being in the US I don’t have access to Firefox in the app store yet.

    1. Hi Jon,

      thanks for the heads-up! I’ve filed Mozilla bug 1203545 and used Henny Swan’s Mobile Accessibility Tip blog post for this. We may be able to do something about it before rendering the content to the Safari engine, so keep your fingers crossed! 🙂 You’re welcome to follow that bug if you like.

  2. Marco, it will be nece to have a an alternative to Safarî. I look foreward to get it in Switzerland

What are your thoughts?