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August 14, 2005

IBM donates accessibility features to Firefox

IBM Corp is donating several features to the open source Mozilla Foundation that will provide alternatives to conventional mouse-click navigation, while providing the ability to document visual controls.

By CBR Staff Writer

As a result, motor-impaired users of the Firefox browser would have alternatives to using the mouse, while learning or visually impaired users could gain better audio prompting.

IBM’s contributions include features written in Dynamic HTML that allow developers to add more descriptive information on web controls, so screen readers can translate them to audio prompts for the visually impaired.

Additionally, IBM’s code also provides ways for motor-impaired users unable to use mice to navigate the browser through standard keys, just as they would with other Windows client applications.

This is not the first time that IBM has contributed code to Firefox. Previously, it contributed XForms that provide more component-based web forms, where presentation is separated form content.

A replacement for XHTML, XForms can also allow developers to embed accessibility features by using different web form presentation templates.

The new features are to become available with the Firefox 1.5 browser.

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