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Mobile Accessibility

  • Big thanks to MarcoZ for providing a lot of this information


The sad, but true, story is that there is no consistent accessibility story when it comes to mobile phone accessibility. As a leader in web technologies, Mozilla needs to ensure we are leading the way in accessibility in our products. With Mobile, that is difficult, but it is something we can achieve and make great progress towards.

What Firefox Does

On Windows, Linux, and hopefully Mac soon, Firefox maps its internals to the native accessibility APIs. Look at for more details and links to MDC articles. Basically, there is an own module in Gecko that takes care of mapping HTML and XUL content to these native accessibility APIs.

Mobile Screen Readers

Currently, there are basically two systems that are made accessible by some proprietary vendors: Symbian 60 and Windows Mobile. For Symbian 60, the market leading screen reading and screen magnifying solution is A second competitor in this field is called MobileSpeak and comes from They also provide a screen reader for Windows Mobile.

On Symbian, the screen readers inject some JavaScript into the mobile browser to get at the content. Talks even puts the current DOM element, text or whatever in the title bar for the current window as the user navigates with the cursor keys. I assume MobileSpeak does something similar, I haven't tried it.

On Windows Mobile, the story is similar: Screen readers use some technique to get at Pocket IE's DOM and do their own HTML parsing, so to speak.

Mobile Linux is a different story alltogether. Aside from the fact that no blind person is able to use an N800 or N810, there is no accessibility infrastructure at all on mobile Linux yet, and also no screen reader. There is work going on inside the GNOME desktop to port its accessibility infrastructure from Corba to D-Bus, and Nokia is funding that, but until this sees the light on the Linux mobile platform I don't know. It has to appear in GNOME first.

What We Can Do

Make sure everything can be achieved using the keyboard, and not only the touch screen.

Test Cases

TODO: Add testcases to Litmus to test keyboard shortcuts



MarcoZ has made connection to the Talks developers, and they're interested in making Fennec accessible on Symbian 60 once it becomes available there.