Mozilla's Section 508 Compliance

The United States Federal Rehabilitation Act's Section 508 is a new standard for defining accessibility requirements for software and other electronic and information technology. Part of Section 508 (ยง1194.21) specifically relates to Mozilla, and the ability of US government agencies to buy software that contains Mozilla software components.

Here is a detailed list of section 508 bugs in Mozilla's Seamonkey application suite. Some of them are fairly minor.

The following is provided for informational purposes only and is not a legally binding Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). Here are the section 508 requirements and how far along Mozilla Seamonkey rv1.8a4 is with each one:

Requirement Windows Linux/UNIX Mac OS
Requirement Windows Linux/UNIX Mac OS
(a) When software is designed to run on a system that has a keyboard, product functions shall be executable from a keyboard where the function itself or the result of performing a function can be discerned textually. Mostly complete.

Caveats: 1) Although sidebar cannot be customized without a mouse, all sidebar functions that come with the browser are available through other means 2) Java and in-page plugins cannot be used with the keyboard, so they must not be installed for keyboard-only users

Additional features for the keyboard: 1) Find as you type allows for quick navigation to links and convenient text searching 2) Browse with caret (F7 key toggles) allows users to select arbitrary content with the keyboard and move through content as if inside a readonly editor.
Incomplete. Inadequate attention paid to Mac keyboard bugs. Needs more investigation.
(b) Applications shall not disrupt or disable activated features of other products that are identified as accessibility features, where those features are developed and documented according to industry standards. Applications also shall not disrupt or disable activated features of any operating system that are identified as accessibility features where the application programming interface for those accessibility features has been documented by the manufacturer of the operating system and is available to the product developer. Complete.
(c) A well-defined on-screen indication of the current focus shall be provided that moves among interactive interface elements as the input focus changes. The focus shall be programmatically exposed so that assistive technology can track focus and focus changes. Complete. We expose focus programmatically via MSAA (Windows) and ATK (Linux/UNIX). Incomplete, we show focus but need to expose it programmatically by supporting Carbon/Cocoa accessibility.
(d) Sufficient information about a user interface element including the identity, operation and state of the element shall be available to assistive technology. When an image represents a program element, the information conveyed by the image must also be available in text. Complete. We expose this information to assistive technology via Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) (Windows) and Accessibility Toolkit (ATK) (Linux/UNIX). Incomplete. No development efforts have made made to utilize Cocoa or Carbon accessibility APIs.
(e) When bitmap images are used to identify controls, status indicators, or other programmatic elements, the meaning assigned to those images shall be consistent throughout an application's performance. Complete.
Requirement Windows Linux/UNIX Mac OS
(f) Textual information shall be provided through operating system functions for displaying text. The minimum information that shall be made available is text content, text input caret location, and text attributes. Complete. Caret location and text attributes are exposed via MSAA (Windows) and ATK (Linux/UNIX) Incomplete. No development efforts have made made to utilize Cocoa or Carbon accessibility APIs.
(g) Applications shall not override user selected contrast and color selections and other individual display attributes. Complete. The default theme, Classic, uses the operating system's font and color contrast settings. When the Windows "high contrast theme" is used Classic, and thus the system look and feel, is automatically selected. Complete when run in the Gnome desktop. The default theme, Classic, uses Gnome's font and color contrast settings. Under Linux/UNIX it is the user's choice, whether to stick with the Gnome theme or not -- they must choose Classic if they want to follow the Gnome theme. Unknown - needs research
(h) When animation is displayed, the information shall be displayable in at least one non-animated presentation mode at the option of the user. Complete. Mozilla's preferences under Privacy & Security - Images contain options for making animated images still.
(i) Color coding shall not be used as the only means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element. Complete. Caveat: normally Mozilla uses a color change to indicate when a link has been visited. However, the visited link appearance can be altered via a user style sheet.
(j) When a product permits a user to adjust color and contrast settings, a variety of color selections capable of producing a range of contrast levels shall be provided. Complete. Mozilla's appearance preferences panel contains a large number of color possibilities.
(k) Software shall not use flashing or blinking text, objects, or other elements having a flash or blink frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz. Complete. Mozilla supports of <blink> and text-decoration: blink in web pages. In these situations Mozilla blinks 1 Hz, which is within the allowable range and follows the stricter MIL-STD standard.
(l) When electronic forms are used, the form shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues. Partially complete. See functional performance criteria below. Screen reader access is currently being tested. An extension called Ad Block helps remove extra noisy content from web pages that clutter accessibility.

Functional Performance Criteria

Requirement Windows Linux/UNIX Mac OS
Requirement Windows Linux/UNIX Mac OS
a) At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user vision shall be provided, or support for assistive technology used by people who are blind or visually impaired shall be provided. Partially complete. Window-Eyes support in testing (must use very latest 1.8 alpha testing builds and special build from Window-Eyes). Partially complete. Gnopernicus support in beta No screen reader support on Mac OS X
b) At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require visual acuity greater than 20/70 shall be provided in audio and enlarged print output working together or independently, or support for assistive technology used by people who are visually impaired shall be provided. Complete. Built-in text zoom limited only to the size of the window. Works ZoomText version 8.11. Caveat, the document reading and app readings modes don't support columnized text. The focus is not always correctly echoed via text to speech. However, it is functional and very possible to use ZoomText with Mozilla in this mode. Have contacted AI Squared to work on reamining issues. Complete, but needs testing. Works with gnome-mag No magnifier support on Mac OS X
c) At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user hearing shall be provided, or support for assistive technology used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing shall be provided. Complete. With showsounds enabled in operating system. Complete. With showsounds enabled in operating system. Unknown
d) Where audio information is important for the use of a product, at least one mode of operation and information retrieval shall be provided in an enhanced auditory fashion, or support for assistive hearing devices shall be provided. Complete. Audio is not a core part of Mozilla -- plugins or the OS take care of audio playback.
e) At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user speech shall be provided, or support for assistive technology used by people with disabilities shall be provided. Normal operation does not require user speech Complete. Does not require speech input
f) At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require fine motor control or simultaneous actions and that is operable with limited reach and strength shall be provided Complete. All input technologies that go through the keyboard driver work with Mozilla -- including sticky keys, filter keys, on screen keyboards, etc.

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