Accessible Firefox and Chrome on Android and iOS

Good news for mobile voice output users as this week the guys over at Mozilla released further accessibility enhancements for Firefox in a nightly build. In addition to this Chrome was released into the Apple App store and also comes with accessibility baked in complementing it’s counterpart on Android which also recently became more accessible.

Finally we now have a choice – that rarest of thing for many disabled users when it comes to choosing what browser they want to use. I reminds me of a kid I knew when I was small who had a massive toy-box but would only share one while she played with the rest. Finally  we get to play with the same toys.

I’ll be doing more testing in the coming weeks so for now here’s details of where you can download these browsers plus a few comments.

Firefox Nightly version 16.0a1 (Android)

Download a copy from the Nightly downloads page. I’m using a Galaxy Nexus with Android 4.0.4 and you’ll need to make sure you have at least version 4+ (Ice Cream Sandwich) with Talkback pre-installed and running the Eyes-Free-Keyboard.

The big news with this release is that Explore-by-Touch is now included adding to the quick navigation keys which allow you to jump between headings, lists, buttons, form elements and so on. For me this is crucial as it’s unbelievably hard to get an understanding of the structure and order of the page by Explore-by-Touch alone.

If you’ve not already set yourself up with speech output on Android check out Marco Zehe’s excellent post on accessibility support for mobile Firefox on Android where he provides a step by step guide to getting Talkback working and installing the Eyes-Free-Keyboard which you need if in order to browse.

Chrome (Android)

Download a copy of Chrome from the Play Store and follow the installation steps. To ensure that web content itself is accessible you will probably need to ensure that you are able to install web scripts. To do this go to Settings > Accessibility > Install web scripts and select ‘Allow’.

A really nice feature is how you can press and hold your finger over a list of links so they appear in a magnified box. This is an especially good trick if you are using a site where pinch zoom has been disabled. There is also an accessibility setting which allows you to ‘Force enable zoom’ and override the website suppressing pinch zoom.

Links in a tag cloud magnified for easier touch


Chrome (iOS)

Download a copy of  Chrome from the App Store then browse as you would normally with VoiceOver. It works with the Web Rotor so you can jump between headings, lists, links buttons and so on with ease.

A feature that I really like is the keyboard which has the colon, full stop, hyphen, forward slash and .com all displayed at the top of the keyboard. This means no more switching between keyboards which is fiddly and time consuming.

The iOS keyboard with all that you need to write a URL displayed

I’ve yet to test support for HTML5, WAI ARIA and HTML4 in general but if you discover any bugs, issue or have a comments let me know.

2 thoughts on “Accessible Firefox and Chrome on Android and iOS

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