New Accessiblity Features in IE8

The Internet Explorer blog released a story by JP Gonzalez-Castella, IE8’s accessibility program manager. Here’s a summary of their points and the changes¬† in IE8 that will improve accessibility.

  1. All users will benefit from the new features. Making software more accessible helps everyone.
  2. Improvements in keyboard use include Caret Browsing feature, Accelerators, Web Slices and revamped Find on Page.  Adaptive Zoom and High DPI support have also been added.
    • Caret Browsing: This works like moving the caret in a Word doc. Select text by holding the shift key down and pressing the arrow keys. Turn it on or off with F7.
    • Accelerators: These will be reached through a context menu key on the keyboard and do chores like translate text.
    • Web Slices: WebSlices are portions of a webpage that you can subscribe to and view from the Favorites bar.
    • Find on Page: Moved to a bar at the top so it doesn’t get in the way of actually finding something on the page.
    • Adaptive Zoom: Rather than magnifying everything, adaptive zoom looks at the elements pre-layout and scales and then redraws them on the screen.
    • HiDPI: Internet Explorer 8 will zoom the content of a Web page to match your Windows DPI Scaling settings, which are set by the user in the Control Pane > Personalization > Tasks > Adjust Font Size (DPI) menu.
  3. ARIA Support: Here’s a whole list of ARIA roles, states and properties that will be supported by IE8. By using Microsoft UI Automation properties and control patterns, all of the ARIA information can be made available to ATs (Assistive Technologies) through Accessibility APIs. This feature is more for use by developers than by browser users.
  4. WinEvents: New WinEvents will notify ATs when the content of a page changes dynamically.

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