Blocking Meta-Refreshes in Firefox 3

Feb 16, 2007

Mark Pilgrim just recently patched a long-standing bug in Firefox (the fix will appear in Firefox 3). Currently, there is no way a user can disable timed redirects through META refresh elements. This becomes a gigantic problem to blind users who utilize screen-reader software. By the time the screen reader starts reporting what's on screen, the page changes unexpectedly.

Beginning in Firefox 3, users will have the option of being warned when such refresh event takes place. A notification bar, just like the one used to alert the user of blocked pop-up ads, will appear when a META refresh takes place. The user will then be able to click a button to allow the event. Note that this new system will be disabled by default, meaning that everything will act as it does today in Firefox 2. Also note that JavaScript refreshes are not handled by this fix.

What I find most intriguing about this new system is that the notification bar appears just like an ALERT to assistive software. Mark has a blog post that goes into way more detail on the fix, so check it out if you're interested. It's really good to see Firefox making strides in this area. Yet one more reason that Firefox 3 will be super awesome.

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