Yura Zenevich home

FirefoxOS Screen Reader Toggle

24 Feb 2014 (Updated: 7 Mar 2014) - Toronto, ON

UPDATE: After some initial user/developer trials we opted for a different hardware button combination instead of the power button press. Instead of pressing the power button three times, the user now needs to press volume up then volume down buttons three times to hear the instructions.

This post is going to be an inaugural one for my new blog where I will try to give small updates about all things accessibility for FirefoxOS, and Mozilla in general.

We are making progress every day on things like the screen reader for mobile (FirefoxOS and Firefox for Android), accessibility for the essential FirefoxOS apps and a number of other platform-wide accessibility improvements.

One of such recent improvements is a shiny new quick toggle for our screen reader. With this improvement the user can enable or disable the screen reader at any point, as long as the phone is turned on (including the first time use setup). To enable the screen reader, the user needs to press the power button three times in short succession (within the maximum of one second between the presses). The phone will then announce that the screen reader will be turned on if the user repeats the action of pressing the sleep button three more times in the same fashion. The instructions are identical for disabling the screen reader.

Sometimes getting those three presses right might feel a little bit tricky. It seems like the events from the hardware power button get fired only when the presses are really pronounced. Thus, there is more room for improvement. There is of course the actual accessibility setting in the main Settings app in case you want to play around with things like the speech rate and volume.

More updates are coming..