For the first one...
I have the mate desktop (not Ubuntu specific) on an Arch instal, though I've always had issues with Ubuntu's implementation of Mate.
Second point.....you need a Chrome useragent for Firefox.
Google how to do an eyes free install of Chromeox, there's instructions in a Google group, but Skyp itself uses a Chromium base with an Electron wrapper that does not work with Orca. Atually ChromeVox only half works with Chromium itself, you need to tell Chromiu to work with the speech-dispatcher. Chrome itself works out of the box mind.
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