Firefox accessibility add-ons aren’t so accessible


About 2 years ago I pointed out to Mozilla development that it was very difficult to find add-ons that were relevant to accessibility. The basic problem was that there were a limited number of categories and accessibility was not one of them.

The problem has not been fixed directly but two newish features for searching the add-on library have made it much easier.

Firstly, tags can be added to the description of an add-on and these include ‘accessibility’. So you can get list of all add-ons with an accessibility tag. There is one wrinkle to this process, there does not appear to be any way of searching directly for a tag.

The only way I have found to do it is to do a general search on ‘accessibility’, choose one of the add-ons and then on the right hand-side will be a list of tags, clicking on accessibility will give a list of all relevant add-ons. If anyone can provide me with a more elegant way of doing this I would be obliged.

Secondly any user can create a collection of interesting add-ons. These can be accessed by clicking on the ‘add-on’ menu and choosing ‘collections’. You can then search for accessibility collections. Ken Saunders has produced one called ‘Firefox Accessibility Add-ons ‘ which has an interesting list.

Between these two methods I can now find a reasonably comprehensive list of accessibility add-ons. If there are any add-ons that are not in these lists it is really up to the owners to tag them up properly.

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Peter is Practice Leader (Accessibility & Usability) at Bloor Research. Peter started in IT as a sandwich student in 1966 with IBM and continued to work for them until 2003. In a company then known especially for its hardware Peter saw the importance of software and especially transactional processing. He installed the first IMS online system in the UK as well as early versions of DB2. In 2004 his experience with some disabled friends and a report by the Disabilities Rights Commission prompted him to start research into IT accessibility for the disabled. Recognising the growing importance of this area he set up Bloor's Usability and Accessibility practice.