Updating to Firefox Quantum, Screen reader users wait

Screen reader users are asked not to  update to next version of Firefox. Mozilla is releasing Firefox 57 called as Firefox Quantum on November 14, 2017. Firefox Quantum is switching to a multiprocessor methodology to increase the speed and to be more efficient. Firefox quantum is a fast, modern and performant browser that puts users first. The new Firefox quantum will be using 30% less memory and will be 2 times faster than the earlier versions in general.

Though Firefox Quantum seems to be faster and efficient this version is not ideal for screen reading technologies. No matter if you are using JAWS or NVDA Firefox quantum is not suitable for you at this point. Freedom scientific on a blog post mentions that only the latest versions of JAWS, Zoom text and Magic are compatible to certain extent. Read the blog posts from creator of NVDA and Freedom Scientific JAWS to know more information.


Why shouldn’t I update to Firefox quantum?

The loading and processing time or simply the interaction of screen reader with Firefox quantum is very slow. This is due to the multiprocessor methodology used in the latest version. With this method the communication process between browser and assistive technology is significantly deteriorated. If you love experimenting new features you can go ahead with Firefox quantum.


Shouldn’t I update Firefox at all?

At this junction you have two options. One is to stop updating your browser until a screen reader user friendly version is released. To stop updating the Firefox browser navigate to Tools menu and open options. Under general tab select the radio button under updates i.e. Check for updates but let you choose to install them or Never check for updates. By default automatically install updates will be selected. The second is to install Firefox Extended Support release (ESR). Choose the appropriate option such as language and operating system type and install. This will prevent you from automatically updating to Firefox quantum. Better to install Firefox ESR before November 12, 2017 to avoid the pain.

Whom does it impact?

This Firefox quantum impacts the screen reader users who largely depend on Mozilla firefox for their day to day browsing needs. This impacts to those who use Firefox for accessibility testing. The product organizations and website owners etc should know this to address the customer queries.


Hope this article helps the screen reader users in making a choice before installing the new Firefox quantum.


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