With apologies to anyone who’s already read this on my Webwatch e-mail list, I wanted to mention that beta 1 of Internet Explorer 8 is available. This is the product I work on at Microsoft so it is always nice when something I work on is available publicly.
I know blog readers sometimes try beta releases from different companies. I wanted to give folks an alert about IE8 beta 1 should you opt to take it for a test spin. We are still working through some issues with various screen readers, including JAWS, Window-Eyes and ZoomText. Sso if you install the IE beta, please pay attention to the release notes.
The release notes talk about some key problems with the shipping versions of several products where web content will not be available and the IE menus will not speak. There are two reg keys detailed in the release notes you can use to work around these issues but if you do not, IE will seem extremely broken.
The blog announcement talking about IE8 beta 1 is at:
The release notes are at:
Although it isn’t mentioned in the blog post, IE8 beta 1 contains Microsoft’s initial support for Web ARIA. If you are not familiar with ARIA, it is a way to make complex web applications more accessible and do things like assign roles we are familiar with such as trees, menus and more to HTML elements. This is a very simplified example. Personally I think ARIA holds a lot of potential to make the web more functional for screen reading users. You can learn more at:
ARIA Best Practices – http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria-practices/
ARIA Working Draft – http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/WD-wai-aria-20080204/
If you opt to try the IE8 beta and have feedback/bugs/issues please feel free to ping me. We definitely want to know what doesn’t work for the ways you want to use IE. We also have a blog post at http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2008/03/05/ie8-beta-feedback.aspx that details the other feedback mechanisms for the beta.
By the way, we still have an open test position to help us with accessibility testing across the product. The link for more details on that position is at http://members.microsoft.com/careers/search/details.aspx?JobID=EDC85083-8FD9-4E16-BE2B-1B736C30E3AC&start=1&interval=10&SortCol=DatePosted. If that link doesn’t work for you use job code 186473 and search US jobs off of http;//Microsoft.com/careers.