Promoting idea of getting Ubuntu to adapt to users' accessibility preferences...

Brian Cameron Brian.Cameron at Sun.COM
Thu Jul 30 21:57:19 BST 2009


> Sorry for the cross posting.
> As we all know different users have different needs of their operating 
> system.  Adjusting the system to meet their requirements may take a lot 
> of effort for certain users. Some users may not be able to configure the 
> system without someone else's assistance.  For computers in public 
> spaces (eg. libraries, university computer labs, offices, etc.) it is 
> very important that the computers can quickly adapt to different users' 
> preferences and return to the defaults after they are finished.
> To try to help with this process I've submitted an idea to the Ubuntu 
> Brainstorm site.
> If you think this is an interesting idea worth pursuing please *consider 
> voting for it*:
> *What is Web-4-All?*
> The Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC) 
> <> at the University of Toronto 
> <>developed Web-4-All 
> <>, a system 
> for easily configuring multi-user public access computer workstations. 
> Web-4-All is basically a file which contains the users accessibility 
> preferences. These preferences can be stored on a smart card or USB 
> flash drive. When the user places this media into a Web-4-All compatible 
> system the system automatically updates to match the accessibility 
> preferences as best it can. When the user pull the card out of the 
> system the computer reverts back to the previous settings.

This does seem like an interesting idea.  To expand upon it, I think
GNOME also needs a solution that works more generally.

There has been talk of enhancing gnome-settings-daemon so that it is
possible for users to hit particular keybindings or other sorts of
gestures (e.g. mouse gestures) to launch AT programs.  This would
allow a user to launch the on-screen-keyboard, text-to-speech, or
magnifier by completing the appropriate gesture (e.g. keypress or
mouse gesture).

I would think that using a specific smart card or USB stick is another
form of "gesture" that would also be good for launching AT programs.
However, wouldn't it be better to come up with a solution that would
support all of these sorts of "gestures" in one place?

Providing a solution that can recognize different sorts of gestures
(perhaps configurable so users can define their own sorts of gestures -
perhaps with other unique hardware based solutions - like pressing a
button on their braille display) seems a way to go about implementing
your idea and also supporting other mechanisms that could be used to
launch AT programs as needed.


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