Fwd: [orca-list] Making Ubuntu Software Center accessible

Phill Whiteside phillw at phillw.net
Thu Feb 18 21:19:06 GMT 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Phill Whiteside <phillw at phillw.net>
Date: Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 9:17 PM
Subject: Re: [orca-list] Making Ubuntu Software Center accessible
To: Hugh Sasse <hgs at dmu.ac.uk>

The raft of sometimes contradictory standards proposals are a nightmare.
I've been recently looking into providing fuller support for web-site
readers - one set of standards for CSS has been demoted, a new set is
kicking around from Web Accessibility Initiative and yet more proposals for
the next CSS - I'm not sure what to code to, just for a web-site. Imagine
being the author of software, you could spend a lot of time meeting a set of
standards, to find they have been supplanted.

My views on the matter are over here -->

But, heck, I am trying !!



On Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 6:50 PM, Hugh Sasse <hgs at dmu.ac.uk> wrote:

> I think there's a more fundamental question here.  That is:
> "Why are people still developing inaccessible software?"
> The Americans With Disabilities Act dates back nearly two decades,
> the UK legislation is about 15 years old, and that's just the legal
> side of things, ignoring culture.  So why aren't people catching up
> with this?
> I think there are a number of answers to this, but they include
>  *  Much of the information out there is about available applications
>    and configuring them by/for the disabled user
>  *  There would seem to be nothing in the acceptance process which means
>    that inaccessible applications are rejected for inclusion in
>    GNU/Linux.  [I don't know enough about that to be certain...]
>  *  A quick search shows little for the programmer along the lines of
>    how to make your application accessible.  I found Accerciser through
>    http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/9991
>    but good though that is, it is rather "after the event", as opposed
>    to how to write in accessibility from the start.
>  *  Much of the material is pretty intimidating for someone starting out
>    in terms of the number of things you have to cover.  Just taking
>    vision: speech access, braille access, large print access, the needs
>    of colour blind people, be that red/green, blue/yellow, or total
>    colour blindness.  [Then there's deafblindness...]
>  *  The wider case for accessibility doesn't seem to be put forward
>    enough.  Much is said about full participation of the whole of
>    society, but that won't get most people to jump at the chance to
>    add accessibility.  What seems to be left out is that something
>    accessible is usually easier to script with another technology,
>    because there are more hooks into it.  Textual interfaces can be
>    screen scraped easily, etc.
> A search for Accessibility Howto (a particularly blunt instrument for
> this sort of thing) only turns up this on the second page:
> http://www.faqs.org/docs/Linux-HOWTO/Accessibility-Dev-HOWTO.html
> and it is dated 2002, which is probably rather old now.
> I'd suggest that there is a need for people who know more about
> GNU/Linux accessibility than I do [1] to write about it for a wider
> audience to get the techniques out there.  "As a programmer this
> will benefit you, because you can do [...] as a result of the
> accessibility hooks being there."  Etc.
> I don't think the problems will start to go away until more people
> are aware of how easy the easy things are.  The difficult things
> will come later.
>        Hugh
> [1] I don't know much about the programming of accessibility yet.
> I'm hoping this will change when (if?) I get more time.
> --
> Ubuntu-accessibility mailing list
> Ubuntu-accessibility at lists.ubuntu.com
> https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-accessibility
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