Firefox 4 is here!

Firefox 4 has finally hit the release channels and is available for download immediately!

This is a major update that brings a lot of new features and enhancements as well as loads of stability and performance fixes to your browsing experience. And of course it is accessible!

Some recent posts on the subject by me:

  1. New in Accessibility in Firefox 4
  2. New support for HTML5 elements and attributes, with a lively discussion and some revamping going on for a very near future update esp to the landmark piece

If you’re a user of NVDA, Orca, JAWS, Window-Eyes, Dolphin SuperNova, Serotek System Access or Baum Cobra, you’ll be good to go with current versions of the products! Please make sure to update to the latest revision for your screen reader that you can access before using Firefox 4, as it was reported to us that some early revisions of JAWS 11, for example, cause problems invoking the virtual buffer.

We expect all screen magnifiers that worked in Firefox 3.6 to work in 4, too. Same goes for speech recognition and other assistive technology programs on Windows and the GNOME Desktop on Linux.


19 thoughts on “Firefox 4 is here!

  1. hello there.

    as you are 1 of major developer for firefox, i’ve been following your blog for quite a while.

    i’ve also seen your active participation in NVDA.

    I would just like to bring to your notice that for me, firefox4 isn’t accessible.

    all the navigation features are broken, and i can only tab through links and other contents.

    shortcut keys arn’t working, and neither are the arrow keys.

    i’m using jaws for windows, version 11.

    please help.

    p.s. i’ve downgraded to firefox 3.6, and the problem is solved at least for now.

    please comment or reply.



  2. Ruchir, for us, Firefox 4 is working with JAWS 11 just fine. Make sure you start JAWS before starting Firefox, though, then all should be fine. Also if you switch screen readers, like using NVDA first, then JAWS, make sure to shut down Firefox before you use it with JAWS.

  3. Marco, and I can confirm. Jaws 11, firefox wont work properly. I can only navigate with tab, navigation keys and virtual cursor is broken. I could only read links, but not texts, headings and other areas. You can contact me privatly for further cooperation if you are interesting.

  4. Hi Marco, I’d like to upgrade to FF4; however, I’m holding off until Webvisum is updated beings that is the absolute best captia solution currently for FF. Have you heard of any updates recently? I wish I can offer support, but I have virtually no programming experience. Any way to catch up to speed quickly? Thanks.

  5. As good as this news may be, it is still [for me] not worth the upgrade since Webvisum is not compatible. It is such an essential extension that I can not and will not sacrifice all that I would be by upgrading to version 4.0. I so hope the add-on will be made compatible as soon as possible, but till then I will keep using the latest 3.6.x branch.

  6. Guten tag marco,

    So the big day has finally arrived. Is there anything us screen readers (Jaws 12 in my particular case) should watch out for? Issues or areas in particular where accessibility may still be iffy? Not counting add-ons of course.

    I held off on doing the upgrade till I maybe heard a little more from more adventurous JFW users before taking the plunge myself, but thought I’d ask you since you’re more of a nuts and bolts computer person and may have more insite as to what may still be problematic as opposed to general observations.

    I look forward to giving Firefox a spin and hopefully finding some lingering issues I’m experiencing with speed and certain pages addressed. I’m still stuck on XP so hopefully FF 4.0 will make me not miss IE9 at all.


  7. To all who reported here that they had problems with JAWS 11 and Firefox 4 not invoking the virtual cursor: Please make sure you update to the latest revision of JAWS 11, which has a build number of 11.0.1476 (or possibly higher for some international releases). That will work fine, I just reproduced the problem with JAWS 11.0.756 not working, but 11.0.1476 working just fine.

  8. Hello Marco,

    I’m a Mac User and am wondering if there are any plans to make Firefox work with VoiceOver. I’ve installed Firefox 4 and it still appears to be largely incompatible with VoiceOver running under OSX 10.6. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.


  9. Bryan, yes, VoiceOver support is definitely on our radar still, however lack of resources in the past have made it impossible for us to work on it in the Firefox 4 timeframe. However, the work we did for over-all performance improvements has improved the situation with VoiceOver too, as I recently tried myself. However, there are still kinks to work out and bugs to fix that prevent a good user experience. That is why accessibility for Mac OS X is still not enabled yet for Firefox 4.

  10. Hi marco,
    I’ve heard some horror stories on the GW Info list about navigating the Ad-on manager. Is this fully functional with screen readers now? Are there any keyboard navigation tricks we should know about?


  11. There is one issue that was discovered by Jamie Teh from the NVDA project after release, which is when you press the “Remove” button on an add-on, focus gets lost and you have to click somewhere with the mouse to get it back. Workaround: Use the context menu for the add-on instead, that works.

  12. The simulated mouse in windoweyes doesn’t work with firefox 4 ofr me so I can only use the arrow keys. Do you have any thoghts on what to do about this. thanks very much.

  13. Hi Marco. A few things I’ve noticed with FF 4.

    1. The biggest thing is that when flash crashes, jaws still hangs, not just FF but the entire system usually. I’m guessing this is some complicated interaction between FF, flash, and jaws, but I know it’s driven a few people I know away from FF.

    2. There seems to be no status line, e.g. when I hit jaws-numpad 3 instead of “waiting for …” or “done”, I usually get something about changing background or such.

    3. Dialogues and such seem to be inaccessible with the jaws cursor. For instance, if I pick help, about firefox, I can tab through the links, but I can’t see the version number, nor can I use the jaws cursor to readily find it. It sort of looks like the jaws cursor is just considering the whole browser a window or something of the like.

    4. The download manager seems to have a similar issue. In 3.x I could use the jaws cursor and find out the download speed. Now if I try that, I usually see something about “googlecting”, and I see no download info whatsoever. In addition, if I tab to cancel and hit space on it, I’m stuck on the cancel button, I can’t tab back to the list to clear the cancelled file or whatever.

    5. In the add-on manager, once I tab out of the list of add-ons, I don’t think there’s a way to get back to it, other than closing the manager, but I might be wrong about that, I’ve only played with it once or twice.

    6. I can’t seem to get the awesome bar search thing to work right for me. For instance, suppose I hit alt-d and type, NVDA, and then hit the down arrow. It says I’m on the NVDA site in the list, but often when I hit enter I get AOL search instead. Sometimes tabbing twice seems to let me hit enter and get to the actual site I want. Also, I can’t seem to find a way to get out of the search results. Tabbing doesn’t seem to work, nor does escape, and I’m pretty ctrl-w just closes the browser entirely. So for instance, if I type flute into the awesome bar and hit down arrow, I’m stuck tabbing endlessly through that list of links, I need to close the browser and restart.

    Now for the good stuff! It’s faster, still takes a bit to load my huge bookmarks menu, jaws is slower than NVDA with that, but I like it. And webvisum is working again, woo! At least, it looks like it is. It seems to do much better on misspelled words, sometimes it would hang for a second when I arrowed through them to hear the misspelling so I could correct them in 3.x. All in all, I am digging the new firefox 4 just fine. I’m pretty sure I recall you saying updates should be out soon to fix some stuff, so keep up the excellent work. I’m so happy I can use firefox, and you and the rest of the accessibility team make that possible for all of us. Awesome work.

  14. Hi,
    are there any workarounds currently to make it cooperate nicely with Window-Eyes on Windows XP? No stress here, just asking.

  15. I’m having a problem with firefox and jaws. Whenever I try to sign into any web site, firefox freezes and I have to close it in the task manager. This only happens with jaws on. It doesn’t happen when anybody else uses the computer with jaws off.

  16. Jim, what version of JAWS are you using, and have you made sure it is up to the latest free update to that version? Also, once the freeze happens, does pressing F6 help? Focus gets pulled to a notification popup, and pressing F6 will return it to the web page.

  17. Hi Marco,

    I am using Linux Mandriva 2010 Gnome. And I currently have Firefox 4.0.1.

    Wow, this browser just keeps getting better and better. I have been using it since 2009.

    Of all the browsers out there, my favorite is Firefox, then next Opera. Everything else is just garbage.

    As a webmaster, Firefox has so much to offer including the great add-ons. My favorite is Color Picker.

    I am extremely happy with it so you guys keep on improving it. It’s awsome. You guys are the best.

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