Instructions/information on, Part 1 of 2

Tim Ford

HI All,

I just got to my emails, first time since I posted the question about whether anyone had experience with I see there were lots of problems. Below is one of two emails I received from them, and I will send the other to the list in a minute. I received these two emails after sending them a direct email, as the guy in the podcast suggested. I will not include that email address here, since all it would do is result in your getting these same emails.

Tim Ford


-----Original Message-----
From: F123 Team
Sent: Friday, January 22, 2016 5:20 AM
To: ttford@...
Subject: Re: Please send information about your service.

Thank you for your interest in F123 Access (pronounced F 1 2 3 Access).

Due to the high volume of e-mails received in this address we ask that questions related to the use of F123 Access be directed to our group on Google. Below we have included further details about the group and F123 Access.

Please save this message as it has information that is often helpful. This e-mail includes:

* Links to Install Firefox and the F123 Access Extension
* E-mail address to subscribe to the F123 Access Google Group
* Web WhatsApp with F123 Access
* Activating and Deactivating Accessibility Packages
* Facebook with F123 Access
* Youtube Accessibility
* Updating or Refreshing F123 Access
* Suggestions for F123 Access developers

If your question is not addressed in this message, please participate in our group. The e-mail to subscribe to F123 Access group is included below.

* Links to Install Firefox and the F123 Access Extension

To install Mozilla Firefox please visit:

To install F123 Access (for the first time), please visit the following link with your Firefox browser:

If you have registered and installed F123 Access in the past and you need to re-install it for any reason, there is no need to register again. Open the following link with Firefox and, during installation, use the same e-mail address you used in your previous registration:

Please make sure you have "Private Browsing" turned off. Whenever "Private Browsing" is on, all extensions are automatically turned off, including F123 Access. This can also happen if you have Firefox configured to never remember history.

* E-mail address to subscribe to the F123 Access Google Group

To participate on our F123 Access Google group, please send a blank e-mail to the following address:

To join groups for other languages, please select from the following options:

For Spanish-speakers:

For Portuguese speakers:

For Italian-speakers:

We have F123 Access users in more than 30 countries. If you would like to start a Google Group in a new language, please let us know sending an e-mail in English to:

Please note that we are not responsible for the content shared in these e-mail and WhatsApp groups. Having said that, we will do our best to block participants that are not polite, constructive, and/or fail to meet legal or other internationally accepted standards of behavior. We also ask for your assistance in ensuring that exchanges in these groups remain constructive and polite.

* Web WhatsApp with F123 Access

At this time, the Web WhatsApp page is not accessible to users of screen-readers (despite the popularity of the service among the blind). To allow screen-reader users around the world to have the convenience of their full-size computer keyboard when using WhatsApp, and to demonstrate the power of our technology, Web WhatsApp became the first publicly available site reformatted by F123 Access. In this section we describe the process of signing-up and then using Web WhatsApp with F123 Access.

Please note that because of the way the WhatsApp team designed the service, it is necessary that you have a smartphone with WhatsApp installed and working, preferably through a WiFi connection, so that you may use WhatsApp on your computer. The WiFi suggestion is merely in order to prevent that you use-up all your cellular data plan with WhatsApp's frequent updates, as accessing the service through your computer will still cause your phone to constantly update.

Since Web WhatsApp requires users to sign-in by scanning a QR code with their phones, we suggest that most users ask for sighted assistance when signing-in for the first or second time. If you check the box on the WhatsApp web page where you have to scan the QR code, where it says "Keep me logged in", you will only have to scan it once. In any case, it is usually possible to learn the right position for the phone and then scan the QR code independently.

The process is as follows:

1. Open WhatsApp on your phone and select Settings and then Web WhatsApp.

On some phones, when you are on the WhatsApp screen, you need to find the menu button and select it to get these options: New Group, New Transmission, Web WhatsApp, Status and Settings. In that case, select "Web WhatsApp".

2. Open Web WhatsApp on your Mozilla Firefox browser after installing F123 Access. The address for Web WhatsApp is:

3. Then position your phone vertically in front of your computer screen with its camera facing the screen. The touch screen will be facing you while the outside or back camera is facing the screen.

On my laptop computer the distance is more or less the same as the spacebar and the phone is held left of center. In other words, I hold it vertically right above the left-most edge of the spacebar. I move it left and right a bit if the login does not happen immediately.

4. You will usually hear a beep or feel a vibration when login takes place.

If you are using screen magnification, have screen brightness turned too low, or have a dialog box open on the screen, login will not happen this easily. If the above steps are not working for you, please ask someone sighted to check if your screen brightness is normal, if magnification is not active, and if there is nothing blocking the normal view on the screen, i.e. the QR code.

5. Once you are logged-in, you will notice that you can easily jump from one recent conversation to another using 2 and Shift+2 for level 2 headers, or just H and Shift H if you prefer. You can then choose one of those contacts or groups by pressing Enter and your screen reader focus will be placed on the edit field to write to that contact.

Buttons and links that were previously not labeled will now be labeled, and you can quickly read messages exchanged with H and Shift H. But if you just want to see the messages sent by your contact, 4 and Shift 4 will give you those, while 5 and Shift 5 will show you just your messages to that person or group.

The above F123 Access convention of using level 4 headers for text messages sent to you and level 5 headers for the messages you sent, is the same we use on Facebook chat.

Now, with F123 Access, you are ready to use Web WhatsApp!

* Activating and Deactivating Accessibility Packages

F123 Access improves the accessibility of web pages thanks to special computer code designed to correct problems. We divide that software code in what we call accessibility packages. Some accessibility packages are specific to certain web pages, such as WhatsApp or Facebook, while others are generic, and can make corrections in a wide variety of pages. You can activate or deactivate your accessibility packages by checking or unchecking them under "My Preferences", in the F123 Access menu.

You may quickly open the F123 Access menu with Alt+3 and once you enter the preferences option, you will find two sections. One contains settings and the other lists the packages available to you. Everyone has WhatsApp, Facebook, and Youtube. However, members of our testers' group might also have access to additional packages.

Everyone who has helped others on our support Google Group or WhatsApp group is eligible to join our testers' group. Contact us if you are interested in joining.

* Facebook with F123 Access

Here are the main changes to Facebook with F123 Access:

Facebook Headers:

The major sections on the Facebook page can be found with your screen-reader's command for level 1 headers. This is usually 1 and Shift+1. Level 4 headers are used for names of friends and level 5 for stories on the newsfeed. Level 6 header indicates the button to load more posts on your newsfeed.

Friend Requests and Newsfeed:

Depending on your selection on the "My Preferences" settings, these lists will be either structured as tables or with headings, to make reviewing and acting on them easier and faster for you.

Making a post on Facebook:

It is now possible to see all of the settings for privacy, etc. and to change them while making a post.

Facebook Short-Cut Keys:

Alt C will place you on the keyboard shortcut menu where you can use the letter F to jump to the search box for that page, or the H key to jump to the home page of that site.

Facebook Chat:

You can now hear an audio notification when you receive a chat message and you can quickly review previous messages looking for level 4 and level 5 headers with your screen reader. Messages sent to you are shown with level 4 headers, and messages sent by you are shown with level 5 headers. This is the same arrangement F123 Access uses on Web WhatsApp.

You can also easily send a text message by pressing the 'Enter' key when you are finished writing. There is no need to press Tab and then click on the 'Send' button.

* Youtube Accessibility

Youtube Headers:

As you will also observe in many other pages reformatted with F123 Access, Youtube has the major sections of the page marked with a level 1 header. So in most screen-readers you will be able to move between them using 1 and Shift+1.

You can also easily find the titles of videos using level 4 headers, again, pressing 4 or Shift 4 in most screen readers.

Youtube Shortcuts:

F123 Access also provides keyboard shorcuts on every page of Youtube. Just like with Facebook, you can press Alt C and the letter H to go to the home page, or Alt C and the letter F to go to the search box of the current page. Just remember that for search we used F as in "Find".

Video Player Controls:

On Youtube F123 Access provides accessible video control buttons that allow you to Pause, Fast Forward, or Rewind each video.

* Updating or Refreshing F123 Access

Since the F123 Access has been implemented as a browser extension, its updating will happen automatically depending on your browser's settings. It is usually best to leave default settings alone and not worry about them, unless you have special requirements.

However, there will be occasions when an especially important improvement or change is made to F123 Access, and you might want to update your version of the extension even before this is done automatically by your browser. When this happens we will notify everyone using either the e-mail list or the F123 Help Tip notice.

In our notice, we will explain how to update your version of F123 Access, but here are the two basic methods, toggling and full update.


Smaller updates will only require you to toggle F123 Access off and back on again. You can do this through the very first option on the F123 Access menu, called "Active". Simply open the F123 Access menu and press the 'Enter' key at the "Active" option to uncheck it, and then do the same to check it. This can be done fairly quickly with the Alt+3 keyboard shortcut in Mozilla Firefox and 'Enter', or the Alt+0 shortcut in Google Chrome and 'Enter'.

There are two things that are important to do after turning F123 Access off and on again, and they are both easy to forget. First, you should wait a couple of seconds before doing anything after you turn the extension on again. This is because at this time, the extension will download its rules and this may take a few seconds. Second, you will only see changes caused by the new update once you refresh your current web page. You can refresh by pressing 'F5'.

Full Update:

The very last option on the Firefox F123 Access menu is used for updating your extension. To perform the update, simply press 'Enter' on this option and the system will either update F123 Access and tell you that it went well and give you the new version number, or show you a very similar dialog box saying that you already have the latest version. In either case, all you have to do is click on "Ok", in order to close the dialog box.

* Suggestions for F123 Access developers

Suggestions are always welcome and appreciated. It is thanks to suggestions from our users that F123 Access improves daily. But they are not always implemented because in such a complex technical project like F123 Access, the sequence and priority of which features are implemented, do not only depend on what is visible to our users, but also on internal processes.

When we distribute updates that make new features available to the user, this will be reported in the support list created in Google, so that those interested in those improvements can have a chance to try them. If F123 Access has been updated and there is no notice on the list, users can assume that changes were made to improve the speed and/or security of the software and not its functionality.

Considering the size of our task list, the only way to speed up the process is with more resources. If anyone has contacts on a foundation or other entity that can support our project, please let us know at:

Best regards,

The F123 Team

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