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RE: Netscape and screen readers


From: John Foliot - WATS.ca
Date: Apr 29, 2005 5:58AM

Jim Allan wrote:

>> Screen readers for Windows work with IE. They use either the IE
>> document object model (DOM) or Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA)
>> to navigate a page. As Netscape has neither of these, screen readers
>> cannot automatically navigate the page, nor get a list of headings,
>> nor use a host of other tools provided by the screen reader. Screen
>> reader users do not use Netscape, because screen readers don't work
>> with it. There may be movement in the screen reader field to begin
>> work on working with the mozilla family of browsers...though a quick
>> check of the JAWS and GWMicro sites shows no evidence of this. One
>> hopes and hears rumors.

That work has in fact already begun; please see:

As well, one of the students who worked on that project contacted me
recently to announce a new Mozilla Extension: Fire Vox, a new screen reading
tool for Firefox.

According to it's author, it is "an extension that transforms Firefox into a
self-voiced talking browser that does NOT require a separate screen reader
such as JAWS. The only requirements are SAPI 5 (included in Windows 2000 and
Windows XP) and Firefox. Like other tools such as JAWS, it will do more than
just read the content on a web page. It also identifies elements (headings,
links, images, etc), provides support for form controls (echoes keys as they
are typed, identifies if radio buttons/checkboxes are checked or not, etc),
reads the menus on the browser and JavaScript alert boxes, and gives quick
access to the various elements via lists of headings, links, images, form
elements, access keys, and frames on a page. Unlike JAWS, Fire Vox also
supports MathML objects embedded on a page and it's a freeware, open source

Given current time restraints, I have not had a chance to test this
extensively, although it shows promise. More information regarding this
work may be found at the author's website: http://clc-4-tts.cjb.net/ (Kudos
to you Charles!)

Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of WATS.ca
Web Accessibility Testing and Services
Phone: 1-613-267-1983 / 1-866-932-4878 (North America)