Firefox Extended Support Release now requires JAWS 2018 or newer

Firefox has now reached a stage in its evolution where it is necessary for JAWS users to be either running JAWS 2018 or later or switch to an alternative browser.

If you’ve been reading our blog for some time, you’ll recall that we’ve kept you informed regarding our close collaboration with Mozilla with respect to Firefox Quantum. To briefly recap, Quantum is the new technology present in versions of Mozilla’s Firefox browser starting with version 60.

Quantum uses a multi-process methodology, which means it’s super-fast. However, it required major changes to the way all screen readers obtain information from Firefox. Engineers from Freedom Scientific and Mozilla have diligently worked their magic, and we’re pleased with the interaction between our technologies.

Either out of an abundance of caution or because of organizational requirements, some users have chosen to remain on the extended service release (ESR) of Firefox, which until last week was version 52.0. That was a version that predated all the quantum changes. Since Quantum is now a mature product and Firefox continues to add security enhancements to keep its users safe, Firefox 52 has been replaced as the ESR release by version 60.2.0, which uses Quantum technology.

If you are running the current version of JAWS, JAWS 2018, then you will be able to use the new ESR release, although there are advantages in skipping ahead to the current Firefox version, 62, which includes some performance improvements when used with JAWS.

If you are not running JAWS 2018 or later, and are thus using older technology (version 18, 17, etc.) developed before the new Firefox versions, then it’s necessary either to upgrade JAWS to the current version or switch to an alternative browser.

This Firefox situation is just one example of how quickly the world of technology can change. Our engineers are constantly working to ensure that JAWS is compatible with the latest software releases, including updates to Office, Google apps, the entire Windows operating system and more. An investment in keeping your SMA current is an investment in being as productive as possible through having access to current technology, plus quality support for using JAWS with that technology.

If upgrading your JAWS version is not an option, you might consider using Google Chrome as an alternative, standards-compliant browser.

Our thanks once again to Mozilla for working with us to deliver a great Firefox Quantum experience.