WebVisum Extension for Firefox

Posted on Jul 20, 2008

Members of the Mozilla/Firefox development communities have always made accessibility a key priority. This month, the WebVisum Firefox extension was announced to help empower blind and visually impaired users of the Firefox browser. Features include:

  • The ability to tag graphic, form fields and links across platforms
  • Server-push community labeling of specific page elements
  • Automated CAPTCHA image resolution and signup
  • Built-in navigation functions
  • High-contrast views and link highlighting
  • Improved handling of Flash content

Visit Marco’s Accessibility Blog for an excellent review of WebVisum’s features. One item of particular interest is to what extent software displaces educational efforts; what does this mean for those of us who have long endorsed best practices in authoring web content? Does this mean that we can now permit more a relaxed set of development guidelines? Marco has the right idea, I think:

While this extension allows to correct for obvious mistakes like a missing alt attribute on an image, it cannot correct all the requirements there are to meet for section 508 compliance. And it should not! On the contrary: All mistakes one has to correct should be counted against a ranking on a “Wall of shame” kind of statistic that depicts the sites requiring the most corrections. …

Furthermore, there are so many websites that are part of the so-called web 2.0 that are not publically-owned or from a big company, but which are just as compelling to participate. These can usually either not be bothered or cannot financially make it to be 100% sec 508 compliant. Having the possibility to enhance these pages will make the web 2.0 a much more compelling place than it already is in the future.

You can download WebVisum for Firefox upon registration.