FF >= v57 a11y -- separate toolbars for Search & URL?

Sam Foster sfoster at mozilla.com
Thu Aug 17 18:10:43 UTC 2017

If I understand the requirement correctly, the problem isn't so much that
we need custom toolbars specifically, its that they were the only way to
get full-width custom content. The sidebar seems like a better fit in terms
of its flexibility and API, but doesnt work here because it is vertically
oriented and too narrow to be useful when a user has low vision and is
using large fonts.

I've filed bug 1391333 as one way to address this: make the sidebar more
responsive, or allow it to be docked to the bottom of the browser rather
than left or right. Its regretful that sidebar is named as such. In
function its more like an auxiliary content panel, and the side was just a
reasonable default for where it should live. Naming is hard :)


On Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 9:34 AM, <alanpers at cluemail.com> wrote:

> Hi,
> With Firefox 57's move to 'next-UI' & WebExtensions, I've been told on
> #irc that modification of major UI elements will be "not possible" anymore.
> That was echoed in #firefox, #accessibility & #webextensions.
> To be clear, the message was that these existing/historical capabilities
> WILL be dropped, and going forward WON'T be available in core, and WON'T be
> available in webextensions.
> For an accessibility (a11y) population (vision-challenged ...), testing
> with current v57 (yes I know it's early), without those capabilities, the
> results are not good atm -- it's simply a non-starter until I can find some
> sort of manageable workaround.
> I was told to ask further here.
> Generally, persons with clinical vision disabilities need (both
> functionally, and within constraints, legally) to be able to access & see
> displayed data.
> Ideally, search and url fields 'should' have the width to display "lots of
> alrge-font chars" (meaning, terms, full url, path, etc etc), without
> scroll. And preferably without all sorts of 'cute' animation.
> Lots of FF extensions have provided that capability for years.  In this
> case, the extremely popular and widely used 'Classic Theme Restorer' has
> been a perfect solution.
> It tests well.  Because of its capabilities/flexibilities that got high
> marks with various user & legal constituencies, training, procedures, etc
> have been invested and put in place.
> IIUC, with FF >= v57, those capabilities go away.
> I'm aware of the a11y initiative @
>         https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/accessibility-
> features-firefox-make-firefox-and-we
> but it currently appears to miss the boat on field widths; for large font
> + bad vision, I need to separate Search & URL fields onto their own, 100%
> width toolbars.
> Using userChrome, I *HAVE* found how to relocate/reorder EXISTING elements
> (Tab bar, bookmarks bar), but not yet how to ADD new populatable toolbars.
> And, there was at least mention of the possiblity that userChrome may go
> away.
> So, the easiest way to ask the question is:
>         What timely, functional options do, or will soon, exist in FF
> going forward?
>         If not this list, where is the right place to have this
> conversation to help affect change in FF, so we don't "lose" to proprietary
> options from Apple & Microsoft?
> Alan
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