(In)Accessibility of Unity in current Precise

Alan Bell alanbell at ubuntu.com
Tue Mar 6 14:33:03 UTC 2012

totally agree, and sharing this with the unity-design list so more 
people can see it. 12.04 had been pretty decent compared to other 
development cycles up to a few weeks ago, then it all went wrong. I am 
not happy about some of the stuff that landed this cycle with zero 
design consideration for accessibility. Stuff like the shortcuts overlay 
on long hold of the super key is quite literally broken by design. The 
HUD landed in 3d and now Unity2d with no functionality for screen reader 
users (silent in 3d all suggestions are "push button" in 2d), currently 
the global menu and indicators are almost entirely broken, probably due 
to the same thing that broke the menus. I know there have been 
improvements, tedg has done an improvement to the menus by applying role 
hints to stop everything being a checkbox menu item (caused by the 
global menu using a check box menu item for everything irrespective of 
whether it is semantically a checkbox item just because they *look* the 
same). Menus are currently silent except for reading out the hint 
(checkbox or radio button) and the shortcuts. I think some of the 
indicators were briefly not called "image", but right now they all 
appear to be called "window". I want to start doing some documentation 
and screencasts and filing of small bugs and fixing strings, but I can't 
do any polishing because it is all broken. I do know that Unity was 
supposed to not land broken this cycle, but I can't imagine that orca or 
onboard feature in the pre-landing test scripts. Are these scripts 


On 06/03/12 14:04, Nolan Darilek wrote:
> Ugh! We get to this point in every release, where there are patches 
> for a whole bunch of issues that take forever to land. Meanwhile, 
> testers can't examine the new release to see what new issues were 
> revealed after the fixing of the old. So there's no accessibility 
> *test* cycle, just a bunch of bugs that go away after it's too late to 
> address the newly-revealed ones. Meanwhile, accessibility users aren't 
> confident in the newer betas, as even the final release can contain 
> major issues that block productive use.
> This isn't a slam on Luke, but on Canonical. If Canonical is pushing 
> out Ubuntu for Android, surely they can put more accessibility people 
> on the Ubuntu project, especially as it rolls out everywhere. It's 
> going to be *more* important to have a highly accessible Ubuntu if it 
> runs on my phone, tablet and TV. Canonical is in an awesome position 
> to fix this once and have it run across the board, yet I only see Luke 
> addressing patches and other volunteers occasionally popping in to 
> remark on things.
> Seems I've asked this before, but whom do we have to ask to get 
> Canonical to put more people on the accessibility team as they surely 
> are doing so for mobile/TV development? Is there some process other 
> than posting to this list again to better let our voices be heard? 
> When folks patch these accessibility issues, those patches should land 
> in a short timeframe. As of now I'm on 11.04 because 11.10 had 
> accessibility issues I couldn't live with, and 12.04 is shaping up to 
> be the same. Unfortunately, Firefox is moving on, and I'm experiencing 
> focus stickage/accessibility hangs that aren't likely to be fixed 
> because I'm on GNOME 2.32, and I can't see things getting better as 
> Firefox rockets onward, either.
> If I don't get feedback on how to approach Canonical, I'll put up and 
> promote a change.org petition before the week is out. We need to get 
> more people helping Luke ASAP, especially as I for one don't want to 
> get left behind when Ubuntu lands on Android.
> Canonical, please stop deprioritizing accessibility. 11.10 was a 
> transitional release that was highly broken in many respects. Blind 
> users at least can't wait until 12.10 for an Ubuntu with speaking 
> menus, speaking notifications and access to content in Ubuntu's 
> default mail client.
> On 03/06/2012 04:39 AM, Boris Dušek wrote:
>> Hello,
>> my colleague is using current Precise with Orca and Unity 2D and is
>> encountering the following problems:
>> 1. In 2D, if you open the menu using Alt+letter (e.g. Alt+S for 
>> "&Soubor" in Czech,
>>     could be Alt+F for "&File" in English), it does not announce menu 
>> item names
>>     when navigating left/right and up/down.
>> 2. In 3D, neither Dash (Alt+F2) nor Launcher (Alt+F1) are accessible 
>> (you can
>>     navigate them, but no speech)
>> Luke mentioned for some of these problems that "patch exists" or is even
>> coming some time ago (approx. half of February), but the problems 
>> above still persist.
>> Can I find some of those patches anywhere so that I can make a 
>> patched version of Unity?
>> Or better, are those patches coming in some updated unity package for 
>> Precise?
>> Thanks and best regards,
>> Boris Dušek
>> BRAILCOM,o.p.s.

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