A few important changes to the accessibility of the Location Bar

As those of you working with Nightly builds may have already noticed, there have been a few important bug fixes made for the Location bar and a few other Places-related controls. Here’s a summary of them:

  • The Location bar pop up no longer announces itself to screen readers as being a menu. As a result, those screen readers who had difficulties dealing with the Location bar in the past few months will now do a better job of tracking selected items.
  • Speaking of items: In the AutoComplete popup, Download Manager and other spots throughout the browser where RichListboxes are being used, items within these now announce themselves as list items rather than listboxes. Screen readers should now properly read these without repeating “listbox” or similar announcements for each selection.
  • The Add Bookmarks dialog now announces itself as a panel/grouping rather than a menu. Same applies as stated above: Screen readers should now be able to read this dialog much better.
  • Larry is now keyboard accessible. Larry is a button in the vicinity of the Location bar that provides useful immediate information about a site’s status. On secure sites such as https://bugzilla.mozilla.org, the button label itself already states the signer of the page. Pressing it using SPACE gives a bit more immediately useful information. This saves one from going to Tools, Page Info… and navigating to the Security tab. The Larry button can be found by going to the Location bar with CTRL+L and pressing SHIFT+TAB.
  • Alerts should now no longer be double-spoken or even triple-spoken by screen readers.

Please give these areas a whirl, and report problems either to this blog post or to bug 407359. Although we thoroughly tested it, there may still be scenarios we overlooked. For example, F6 currently focuses the Larry button instead of the Location bar, and we’re considering to change that bit of behaviour. CTRL+L or ALT+D will still get you to the Location bar directly.

Happy browsing!

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