Firefox 3 Beta 2 now available for download!

If you haven’t heard it already, Firefox 3 Beta 2 is now available for download. One immediately noticeable difference from Beta 1 is, if you surf to a page that contains combo boxes, JAWS will no longer read all entries of such combo boxes in the virtual document, but will once again read the selected item only. On pages that contain, say, a combo box to select your country of origin, this is a huge relief.

One known issue is that the AutoComplete list that pops up in the Location bar announces itself to be a “menu” to screen readers. While JAWS 8.0, NVDA on Windows, and Orca on Linux cope well with this, Window-Eyes has problems reading the entries and keeping track of the focus. JAWS 9.0 will even announce the list as being a context menu, causing its automatic highlighting feature to always select the first found entry, making address entry a really cumbersome experience. The same is true in part for the Add Bookmarks dialog, which also announces itself to be a menu when it truly is a panel. For interested parties, we’re working on this issue in this bug report.

JAWS 9.0 also will not read any text in forms mode in Firefox 3. This is something Freedom Scientific must fix in a JAWS update. For this and the above reason, I strongly suggest to use JAWS 8.0 for surfing with Firefox 3 Beta 2.

Other than that, happy surfing! And feedback is always welcome!

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