Freedom of Choice
The recent EU ruling requires Microsoft to provide Windows operating system users with a choice of browsers to install rather than having Microsoft Internet Explorer pre-installed. This is a laudable initiative that provides a more level playing field for browser vendors and more choice for consumers. Unfortunately what it does not do is provide informed choice.
The advertised freedom of choice for users
The real choice for assistive technology users
When 5 = 2
What the browser choice screen does not do is provide an informed choice for users. Of the Big 5, only Firefox and Internet Explorer have practical support for assistive technology software such as screen readers and screen magnifiers. This information should be available up front in the “users face” so to speak, this will save those users, who cannot exercise this new found freedom of choice to the full due to browser failings, the hassle of installing the only browser with “Opera Turbo technology” or “the world’s most innovative browser” or the browser “made for everyone“, only to find they cannot use it.
A user of speech recognition software has pointed out that she finds Opera to be the most usable, Firefox is also usable, but Internet Explorer is not. So for this class of assistive software Opera is a practical choice.