Tool Usage Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAE 1.0 and Firefox Accessibility Extension Compatibility

You must use Firefox Accessibility Extension 1.5 or later to use the "FAE DHTML Report" feature. Version 1.5 is NOT currently available from the Firefox Add-in website, so it must be downloaded and installed manually from the Firefox Accessibility Extension website. Changes in FAE 1.0 has made the link from previous versions of Firefox Accessibility Extension invalid.

1. General Questions

1.1 Why are my FAE and Firefox Accessibility Extension errors different?

When there are differences in the accessibility errors reported by the two tools it is typically due to the differences in the HTML coding available for analysis. The Firefox Accessibility Extension has direct access to the DOM of Firefox and can therefore test dynamically generated content that is not available to FAE at this time. Many web pages dynamically create content when the web page is loaded (i.e. get calendar information or today's news items) or update content as the user interacts with form control and links. Dynamically generated content cannot be analyzed by the current version of FAE, but future versions of FAE are scheduled to provide analysis capabilities of dynamically created content when the page is loaded.

1.2 If there are no errors or warnings, do I comply with IITAA, Section 508 and/or W3C WCAG requirements?

When FAE and/or the Firefox Accessibility Extension do not report any errors or warnings it does not necessarily mean accessibility standards have been fully met. For example, headers may be structured properly, but still do not represent the structure of a document if some sections are missing headers or headers are used for formatting rather than structure. Some accessibility requirements can only be tested manually (e.g., changes in language). It is impossible to know if language changes have proper markup from just looking at the code. It is important for developers to understand accessibility requirements and design web resources to include markup for accessibility.

1.3 Why do I get errors for not including the lang attribute when I am using XHTML 1.1 DOCTYPE?

Screen readers, which are used to read web pages for people with disabilities, right now only support the lang attribute for switching speech to match the language of content. The XHTML 1.1 DOCTYPE only supports the xml:lang. Use of the lang attribute causes a validation error. If possible, use the XHTML 1.0 or HTML 4.01 DOCTYPE and use the lang attribute to mark the default language on the html element and elements where the content language is different from the default language.

1.4 Why do the number of forms controls different between FAE and the Firefox Accessibility Extension?

The Firefox Accessibility Extension gives you a list of all the form controls at one time. FAE only reports on the number of form controls found that apply to that rule. For example, form controls like text box, radio button and checkbox need a label element associated with them, but the submit button does not. So the rules that apply to label would only count the controls that need a label and not count controls like the submit button.

2. FAE Specific Questions

2.1 How can I share FAE reports with other people?

The URI of each report can be accessed publicly and sent through e-mail or posted on a website to share the report with other people. This is an important feature of FAE, as it enables sharing reports with web developers and managers of websites to increase their awareness of accessibility. The tools can be used when purchasing web development services to verify that the web site complies with IITAA requirements.

2.2 Can FAE analyze dynamically generated content for accessibility?

Yes and no. The mechanism for acquiring HTML code when using the web form does not execute javascript that is often used to create HTML content. A replacement technology is being developed to allow HTML content generated dynamically as the page loads to be analyzed for accessibility. Page level reports can be generated using the Firefox Accessibility Extension, and the Web Accessibility Tool bar can send a copy of the document object model (DOM) to FAE, where FAE will generate a page level report.

2.3 Does FAE report the accessibility of Adobe PDF files?

No. FAE is not designed to analyze PDF documents for accessibility features.

2.4 Does FAE report the accessibility of embedded applications like Flash, Java and Multimedia resources on a web site?

No. FAE is not designed to analyze Flash, Multimedia and other embedded objects for accessibility features.

3. Firefox Accessibility Extension Specific Questions

3.1 How do I use the extension to find specific accessibility problems

The menu and tool bars of the extension are organized in the same way as the best practices. For example, selecting the "Navigation" option and then the "Forms" option will open a dialog box of the form controls on the page. Form controls with errors will be highlighted in red and form controls with warnings will be highlighted in yellow. The selected form control will display the errors and warnings in a text box below the list of form controls to display specific problems with the control. The form control will also be highlighted visually on the graphical display. Changing yhe column display options in the list box can provide more details about the control, including its ID and NAME attribute content.

3.2 Can the extension analyze dynamically generated HTML content for accessibility?

Yes. The extension analyzes content in the Firefox document object model (DOM), so any content generated dynamically can be generated automatically.

3.3 Can I use the extension to generate an FAE page level report on dynamically generated content?

Yes. The extension sends a copy of the DOM to FAE for the creation of a page level report. Use the Tools -> DHTML FAE Report option. This is extremely useful when testing password-protected web applications to generate a set of page level reports that can be sent to the company to raise awareness of accessibility problems.

3.4 Does the extension report on the accessibility of Adobe PDF files?

No. Adobe PDF document accessibility information is not part of the Firefox DOM and therefore we cannot analyze PDF documents for accessibility with the extension./p>

3.5 Does the extension report on the accessibility of embedded applications like Flash, Java and Multimedia resources on a web site?

No. The extension is not designed to analyze Flash, Java, Multimedia and other embedded objects for accessibility features.

3.6 Why does the "FAE DHTML Report" option in the "Tools" menu not work?

FAE 1.0 uses a different URL to send reports than previous version of FAE. You need to update to the latest version of the Firefox Accessibility Extension to generate a FAE DHTML Report.