If you’re a Firefox geek, like I am, you are always looking for ways to make it work better for you. It is one of the advantages of having something open source that lots of developers can work on. I know, the majority of the world still runs on Microsoft Internet Explorer, but like a good Firefox evangelist, I’m continually trying to convert people to the lighter side of the browser world. If you’ve not been converted, what are you waiting for? Go visit Mozilla today and get your very own copy! It’s FREE! It’s easy to use! It’s reasonably safe from spyware and adware and all kinds of other nasty beasts. Really, there’s nothing to be afraid of! Go on! Do it today!
Er. Sorry. I think I got off track there for a minute.
Anyway, I have daily contact with plenty of people that use Firefox add-ons to enhance their use of the browser. I’d like to point out a few of these add-ons today that my visually impaired students are using on a regular basis.
Text Size Toolbar
This add-on creates tools on your standard toolbar that gives you three quick links: to enlarge, to reduce, or to “equalize” or bring back to its default size. The tools are unobtrusive, easy to manage, and quick to use.
Adds two buttons to the status bar that are the equivalent of the crtl+ and ctrl- commands. Right-clicking on either of the two buttons returns the view to its default size.
Adds three menu items to the context menu (right-click menu) that allows you to enlarge, decrease, or return to default size.
Adds a complete toolbar that allows changes in font size, background and font colors, and line spacing. Also includes the ReadAloud text reader.
All of these add-ons are guaranteed to work with versions 1.5-2.x, and are also being reconfigured to work with Firefox 3.0, which is currently in beat. All of these add-ons can be located by visiting the Firefox Add-Ins Site.
Don’t feel that you have to have an impairment to use these add-ons. How many times have you visited a web page where the web designer has put white text on a black background, and it hurts to look at it? The Accessibar can reverse these colors for you, easily and quickly. And what about those forum pages that you may come across that give you a tiny little window and an even tinier font to type your post into? The QuickZoom or TextSizeToolbar will increase the size in a click. And while I know that there are keyboard commands and keyboard plus mouse movements that will do some of these same things, if you’re surfing, you don’t want to take your hand off your mouse to complete a keyboard maneuver if you don’t have to. These add-ons can make it a whole lot quicker and easier to get through what you need to get through.