Blind Bargains

Firefox Quantum May Slow Down your Screen Reader on Tuesday; Here's What You Can Do

Firefox 57 Quantum will be released on Tuesday, and many screen reader users may want to avoid the update.
In short, updates in the way Firefox renders web pages will slow down your browsing experience at least for the moment. As this blog post points out, help is on the way, but not until version 58.
To avoid these slowdowns, you may want to strongly consider downloading the Extended Support Release version of Firefox which will not plagued with the same user issues. This version is designed for organizations and will only get security updates. In fact, it will actually set you back in time a bit as the current ESR version is 52.4. As mentioned above, Firefox 58 and newer will solve many of the current accessibility issues that have been reported, so help is on the way. Brave users can download the beta and nightly users of Firefox to see how they might work and to report bugs and issues.

Category: News
Displaying 3 comments.
darknexus Tuesday, 14-Nov-2017 10:26 AM ET:

No slowdowns for me but, then again, I've had the sense to abandon JAWS as a bad job years ago.

realman Tuesday, 14-Nov-2017 10:00 PM ET:

I am a JAWS user and the new Quantom 57 update made Firefox not read webpages correctly. It wasn't just a slowdown! So I installed the ESR version and it now works fine. No need to uninstall the previous version; just rename it on your desktop. all bookmarks are transferred from your other Firefox installation. All you do is download the appropriate version of the Firefox eSr program, run the program and that's it.

DebeeArmstrong Wednesday, 22-Nov-2017 10:27 AM ET:

Besides the NVDA blog post, whether you like JAWS or not, you should read the official VFO take on this situation: simply because a complex concept is explained with such a compelling analogy. Also, a read of this blog post: Rethinking Web Accessibility on Windows. clarified for me two important points. 1) Screen readers are querying the browser to learn about the web page, and the more dynamic it is, the more you need a faster processor. Sighted people are moving more and more to thin clients -- the chromebook is a good example -- when most of their work is done within web-based apps. Whereas we blind people, the more we use the web, the more we need a faster computer, simply because the screen reader is working overtime to bring us the data about an ever-changing web-based interface. 2) The whole paradigm of a virtual buffer with the screen reader carrying most of the access load is a castle built on a shack's foundation. The more interactive a website becomes, the more the screen reader sinks in the mud beneath the great weight of processing needed to render access to the site.

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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.

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