Last weeks in the "Accessible" module, May 11, 2009

Sorry for being a slacker in updating you guys regularly on what’s been happening! But we’ve been quite busy at getting some stuff finished and hopefully ready for inclusion in 3.5. I already posted about the return of the descriptions last week. So here’s what else happened since my last report:

Exposing HTML 5 audio and video elements

The initial exposure for the HTML5 audio and video elements to screen readers landed, causing a minor regression that was quickly fixed. In testing this with NVDA, I found that the button labels weren’t properly exposed and that the slider values were not really useful. The progress meters were showing the number of bytes downloaded, or the milliseconds elapsed instead of useful percentage values. Along those lines, Alex also added a bug to expose proper names for each progress meter, so a screen reader user knows which slider is for what purpose.

Except for the last patch, all others have landed on mozilla-central and will be available for testing starting with the 11th of May nightly build.

To make it clear: This is for those HTML5 audio and video elements that have the controls attribute set, indicating that the internally available controls should be used. Other forms of controlling the media playback, such as from external HTML controls/widgets, already worked in the past since these were not part of the actual audio or video element itself.

Tree view item rectangle exposure

We received a report that in Thunderbird 3 beta on Windows, the rectangles for tree view items were not exposed correctly. The rectangle was too small, not encompassing the whole item. Alex investigated this and fixed the bug, putting an optimization in as a second step for all platforms. This also landed on mozilla-1.9.1 after having baked on mozilla-central for a while, and is available since the May 9th nightly builds of Shiretoko, Thunderbird and SeaMonkey.

The ARIA live region background tab leakage

David has been taking different stabs at bug 444644, with some good results thanks to feedback from Roc and BZ during the Mozilla all-hands week. However, we’re still fighting a situation where the creation of virtual buffers by NVDA is causing the live region updates from background tabs to be spoken again. Investigation is ongoing

Other ARIA-related triage

David’s also been a busy bee clearing out some ARIA-related bugs, gathering feedback here and there, closing others as they’ve been solved by other bugs, etc.

Firebug accessibility

This is not strictly inside the “Accessible” module of the platform, but very closely related to the Mozilla eco system. Accessibility of the Firebug UI has been shaping up very nicely over recent weeks. I spent a fair amount of time last week pounding the different alpha releases to help make sure things stayed in shape.

On Friday, Hans from the Paciello Group, Jamie from the NVDA team and I also managed to get the biggest outstanding problem solved in a very productive meeting on IRC, and that’s the reading of the Firebug JS panel by NVDA. Watch this space for a review once Firebug 1.4 goes to beta!

That’s it for this week, thanks for the read!

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