What is F123 Access?
F123 Access (pronounced F 1 2 3 Access), is software which reformats website pages so that these pages are more accessible to blind people. F123 Access is a web-browser “extension” which is installed in your Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome browser.
F123 Access improves the formatting of pages for those with a visual impairment who use screen-reader software.
F123 Access is compatible with a wide variety of screen-readers, including JAWS, NVDA, Orca, VoiceOver, and Window Eyes. The current version is designed for use with the Mozilla Firefox and Chrome browsers although we hope to start work on a Microsoft Edge version soon.
Our software makes many automatic changes based on information that is already on the page, but which may be in the wrong place or illegible for screen reader software. F123 Access is also able to use the information provided by volunteers or specialists, to make any particular website more accessible.
What does F123 Access do, exactly?
F123 Access contains a library of “scripts” which are applied to web-pages as they are received by your browser from a web-site. These scripts inspect the page for flaws which hinder accessibility, and then do their best to correct those flaws.
Is F123 Access free?
Yes. We hope to keep it this way with further support from grants and donations. We expect to always be able to support some free service, although there may be “premium” services added in future which might require payment in order to support their operation.
How many web-sites benefit from F123 Access?
At the moment we have three custom sets of scripts for each of these popular sites: Facebook, Web WhatsApp and YouTube. In addition we have a set of “auto” scripts which attempt to make fixes to images, links, navigation, forms etc. as they are found on any web-site.
For a list of current packages and links to what they do, visit our Packages Documentation page.
We will also look at any important web-site that users identify and will consider custom scripts for that web-site. Let us know!
What are the system requirements for running F123 Access?
You need Mozilla Firefox or Chrome and a screen reader compatible with it, such as NVDA, Jaws, Orca, VoiceOver, or Window Eyes.
Is there a risk of F123 Access conflicting with my screen-reader?
We have never observed any direct conflict between these two technologies.
F123 Access is designed to facilitate access to information by screen readers; thus conflict between these two technologies is hard to imagine.
How private is my web-browsing data?
F123 Access’s default way of operating in the browser does not transmit any information to our servers about what web-pages you look at.
An exception is if you allow F123 Access to ask our servers about the availability of any special data for a specific web-site which is not contained in the default scripts you downloaded for use with the software.
Another exception is if you want to request that our development team take a look at a particular issue on a web-site which you think is a problem worthy of attention.
In both these cases, you must “opt in” to send us any identifying information.
Can F123 Access be used on any device (PCs, Macs, laptops, tablets and mobile phones)?
F123 Access can be used on any desktop or laptop computer that has Firefox or Chrome installed. F123 Access cannot be added to your smart-phone, and probably will not work on your tablet (yet).
How do I download F123 Access?
What is the size in Mega-bytes of F123 Access?
The exact size varies with changes made each week, but the software is very small. The process of downloading and installing usually takes a few seconds to a minute or two.
Which languages are available?
F123 Access is available with an interface in Portuguese, Spanish, and English – and partly in Italian. We will add more languages if enough people will benefit, but we do need to find effort with our limited resources.
How do I know when F123 Access is improving the web-page I’m looking at?
If you do not care to perform a “before and after” comparison of the page, with and without F123 Access, there is another way: F123 Access tells you how many improvements have been made on the page in the page title, and alerts you with a discreet beep tone every time you pass by a place where accessibility has been improved. This low-key tone can be switched off in the “My Preferences” option from the F123 Access menu.
How do you increase or decrease the volume, speed or pitch of voice on F123 Access?
F123 Access improves formatting of pages in your web browser, it does not control the volume, speed or pitch of your screen reader. Use the same commands you had before installing the F123 Access.
How do I stop using F123 Access temporarily?
The option to enable or disable reformatting is available on a menu we add to the main browser menu bar.
I share the computer with people who have no visual impairments. Do I need to suspend the F123 Access when they use the machine?
As a consequence of making web-pages more accessible to the screen-reader, F123 Access’s changes may modify the visual appearance of web pages so that they are not as well presented to a visual user. So, if someone wants to see the web-page as it was intended visually you can switch off reformatting for them, and back on again for you
I have a blog or web-site myself and want to make it more accessible. Can F123 Access help?
F123 Access has to run on the user’s browser, and so you must depend on your screen-reader visitors having the software. But, if you do have a website which is having problems, do get in touch and we might be able to help out by adding it to our users’ scripts, or in some other way.
I have low vision. Will F123 Access help?
The current version of F123 Access only helps the screen-reader user. We do think that we can apply part of the technology to help with magnification, contrast, and so on. But in future.