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ARIA-powered screenreading and Fire Vox support for Google Reader

Google usability expert T.V. Raman has announced that Google Reader now supports ARIA-powered screenreading, as well as Fire Vox, the self-voicing extension to Firefox. This brings the benefits of content feeds and feed readers to the vast majority of visually impaired users.

Google Reader has always had complete keyboard support. With the accessibility enhancements we’ve added, all user actions now produce the relevant spoken feedback via the user’s adaptive technology of choice.

Here are instructions on how to set up fluent spoken feedback from screenreaders and self-voicing browsers when using Google Reader.

Spoken output support in Google Reader is implemented using Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA), an evolving standard for enhancing the accessibility of Web-2.0 applications. WAI-ARIA is supported at present by Firefox — with future support forthcoming in other browsers. ARIA support in Google Reader has been tested in the following environments:

Note that Firefox 3 is still in Beta and that ARIA support like the underlying standard is still in development. ARIA support in Google Reader is designed to help end-users experience the benefits of a powerful Web-2.0 application, while giving browser implementors and adaptive technology vendors a real-world application on which to test their implementations.

Activating ARIA Support In Google Reader

When you first open Google Reader using a screenreader, you will hear an invisible link labeled click hear for ARIA enhanced Google Reader. Follow this link to activate ARIA support. You can bookmark the resulting page for future use.

Once on the ARIA-enabled Google Reader, press ? to hear a list of available keyboard commands. Power users note: most of these keyboard commands are available in the default version of Google Reader. [Google Reader Blog]

Google, Google Reader, ARIA, Screenreading, Feed Aggregator, New Features, Fire Vox, Firefox, Extensions, Plugins

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