; Peter Abrahams; September 7, 2005
IBM has announced that it is contributing software to the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox Web browser to make it easier for more users - including those with visual and motor impairments - to access and navigate the Web.
In addition to contributing code that will make it possible for Web pages to be automatically narrated or magnified, and to be better navigated with keystrokes rather than mouse clicks, IBM is contributing Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language (or D.H.T.M.L.) accessibility technology to the upcoming Firefox Version 1.5. This will allow software developers to build accessible and navigable 'Rich Internet Applications' - a new class of applications that are particularly visual and interactive. D.H.T.M.L. will also allow users to efficiently navigate content more easily using keystrokes rather than a mouse.
This is obviously essential for blind users, who find mice of no practical use, but also is a great benefit for people who find controlling a mouse difficult, for example, those suffering from repetitive strain injuries (RSI) who prefer not to use a mouse; in fact they would prefer to use voice activation and not use the keyboard either.
This is being done in support of ongoing work at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative, and as part of IBM's commitment to open standards and Open Source.
This functionality will also work with Internet Explorer - except if you need to use a screen reader or similar assistive technology.