[orca-list] VINUX-SUPPORT: RE: Ubuntu Unity Desktop to go to Mir and QT

Christopher Chaltain chaltain at gmail.com
Wed Jul 24 20:49:33 UTC 2013

I agree. You also see this on all of the GPS apps which provide turn by 
turn spoken directions. True accessibility, for a blind user though, 
does need to go a bit beyond just what needs to be done for eyes free use.

On 07/24/2013 03:24 PM, Alex Midence wrote:
> The way accessibility was approached by Google is pretty smart.  Eyes-free
> they call it implying that someone who can see might choose to operate their
> smartphone without using their vision.  This is so they can keep their eyes
> on the road, for instance.  Thus, it became something valuable to include in
> their operating system as a feature that could benefit the entire user
> population and not just one specific sector of it.  I thought it was rather
> clever and I must say I like the inclusive mindset.  Apple has done
> something similar with Siri.
> Alex M
> -----Original Message-----
> From: orca-list [mailto:orca-list-bounces at gnome.org] On Behalf Of
> Christopher Chaltain
> Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 3:17 PM
> To: vinux-support at googlegroups.com
> Cc: 'Ubuntu Accessibility Mailing List'; orca-list at gnome.org
> Subject: Re: [orca-list] VINUX-SUPPORT: RE: Ubuntu Unity Desktop to go to
> Mir and QT
> I know you didn't say this, but Mark Shuttleworth and Jane Silver are aware
> that totally blind people can use computers and smart phones. I think you're
> right in that it's hard for any one to quantify their return on investment
> into accessibility, even a smart business man or woman. I'm not even sure
> you could say that Apple has sold a million iPhones they wouldn't have sold
> otherwise because of VoiceOver and accessibility. Also, selling a million
> more smart phones has to be prioritized behind selling that first smart
> phone.
> Getting a new smart phone with a new operating system into the arena is
> incredibly hard. Not only is there all of the development that needs to go
> on (think of all of those apps you take for granted on your current smart
> phone and realize none of those apps exist yet under Unity) but there's also
> the fact that you need to get manufacturers and carriers on board and build
> an ecosystem around a new player in the mobile space.
> I'm not saying Canonical shouldn't be investing more in accessibility, in
> fact, I think they should be. I'd like to see them pushing accessibility
> more in their marketing, be the first smart phone to be accessible right out
> of the gate and hammer home the fact that ubuntu (the philosophy and
> operating system) includes blind people. I think this would pay off for
> Canonical down the road.
> Whatever anyone thinks of Canonical and Mark Shuttleworth, he is an
> incredibly successful, bright and driven person, and he has to accomplish an
> awful lot with limited resources if Ubuntu Touch is going to be successful.
> Accessibility is only one challenge on his radar.
> On 07/24/2013 12:29 PM, Krishnakant Mane wrote:
>> I think the issue here is the total mindset and also the fact that
>> many so called smart business men don't realize the business they can
>> generate out of accessibility.
>> Firstly, there are those who don't *still* beleive that a totaly blind
>> person like me can actually use a Phone, let alone a computer.
>> And I am refering to highly qualified engineers or business personals.
>> Secondly, how many would go one step ahead and say "let's add a
>> million more probable custommers by making the device accessible"?
>> That's why accessibility takes a back seet.
>> happy hacking.
>> Krishnakant.
>> On 07/24/2013 10:51 PM, Christopher Chaltain wrote:
>>> I agree accessibility should be baked in from the beginning. It's
>>> cheaper than bolting it on later, opens up more revenue streams,
>>> provides positive PR and so on. It's the law here in the US, and just
>>> the right thing to do. I wasn't speaking from my own opinion, but
>>> just echoing where I think these companies are coming from and why I
>>> think their making the investments they are. I can't think of a
>>> single smart phone company that introduced an accessible smart phone
>>> with they're first offering and that includes Apple, Google,
>>> Microsoft and Nokia. I don't like it, but I don't think many
>>> companies place accessibility very high on their priority lists as
>>> compared to getting a new product into the market place and getting
>>> it to a point where it's competitive and profitable.
>>> I've heard that Apple had to develop it's own screen reader when
>>> Berkley Systems went out of business and no other 3rd party screen
>>> reader would develop a screen reader for the Mac. Apple was in danger
>>> of losing government contracts because MS had an accessible story
>>> while Apple did not. I don't know this first hand, but I would say I
>>> have it from reliable sources. Of course, Apple has gone far beyond
>>> this in making all of it's products accessible out of the box.
>>> I'm not aware of any company losing a government contract because
>>> they didn't have an accessible smart phone story, but I suspect this
>>> is possible as smart phones become more and more a ubiquitous part of
>>> the business world. This is why I suspect MS will address
>>> accessibility on their Windows Phone platform at some point. I think
>>> they need to get the Windows Phone platform to a point where
>>> government agencies start considering asking their employees to use a
>>> Windows Phone. Right now, I suspect Windows Phone doesn't have the
>>> apps or the market penetration for businesses or government agencies
>>> to even consider it as an option. I've heard good things about the
>>> Windows Phone platform though, and I do know it's becoming a viable
>>> third option behind Apple and Android.
>>> The real point of my email though was to be careful making analogies
>>> between Canonical and Apple/Google. If we assume Canonical has 500
>>> employees with one person working on accessibility (I know I'm being
>>> optimistic.) then how does this compare to Apple and it's ratio of
>>> total employees to those working on accessibility? Also, don't forget
>>> that Apple's first smart phone was not accessible. It wasn't until
>>> this was successful in the market place and competing with Nokia and
>>> Blackberry before they added accessibility. Ditto for Google.
>>> On 07/24/2013 11:57 AM, Al Sten-Clanton wrote:
>>>> It strikes me that, from the perspective you're describing, a
>>>> "viable product" apparently does not include accessibility as a
>>>> matter of course.  (I'm not saying that's your own view, but only
>>>> that this is the view you describe--all too well and concisely.)
>>>> Until our access needs are deemed equal to the access needs of those
>>>> who use the standard monitor and other tools, the attitude in the
> business will be wrong.
>>>> Tell me if I'm mistaken, but I think I heard recently that Apple's
>>>> recent foray into accessibility resulted from a law suit.  (I say
>>>> "recent foray" because there was a period during the 1980s when it
>>>> provided some speech output at least.) Does anybody know for sure
>>>> whether this is right or wrong?
>>>> Al
>>>> On 07/23/2013 11:38 PM, Christopher J Chaltain wrote:
>>>>> I agree it's unfortunate that Luke is the only one working on Unity
>>>>> accessibility, but there is a big difference between Canonical and
>>>>> Apple or Google. Apple is the wealthiest company in the world.
>>>>> Google is also a large company and is also quite profitable. Apple
>>>>> and Google are already well established players in the mobile
>>>>> space. Neither the iPhone nor Android were accessible when they
>>>>> were first released. Canonical is a tiny company, less than 600
>>>>> employees, and is still not profitable after being around for about
>>>>> eight years or so. It's still trying to break into the mobile
>>>>> market.
>>>>> I'm not defending Canonical here. I too wish that they would invest
>>>>> more in accessibility development. I'm just pointing out that
>>>>> circumstances right now between Canonical and Apple/Google are
>>>>> quite a bit different.
>>>>> I think Canonical focus right now is to just get a viable product
>>>>> out into the market place. I'm sure that once that happens and it
>>>>> becomes successful, they'll invest more in accessibility, just as
>>>>> Apple and Google have. In some ways, this is analogous to Microsoft
>>>>> and Windows Phone. MS's priority right now is to become relevant in
>>>>> the mobile space. Once that happens then I think accessibility will
>>>>> move up higher on their priority queue.
>>>>> On 07/24/2013 08:41 AM, Alex Midence wrote:
>>>>>> Hi, Luke,
>>>>>> Just to be clear, I don't think and have never thought you were
>>>>>> part of the problem.  What I do think is that it sucks that you
>>>>>> are the only one having to do all this work.  They really should
>>>>>> hire you some help.  There is only so much one person can do and
>>>>>> a11y is a big job.  Apple has a full on team working on Voiceover.
>>>>>> Google has Dr. Raman and his assistant and probably others I don't
>>>>>> know about working on Android accessibility. If canonical is going
>>>>>> to expand into all these other markets, I don't see why they can't
>>>>>> hire you a couple of assistants to help distribute the workload.
>>>>>> However,
>>>>>> those decisions are beyond our control.  Speaking for myself, I am
>>>>>> personally very appreciative of all the work you have put in.
>>>>>> Best regards,
>>>>>> Alex M
>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>>> From: Luke Yelavich [mailto:themuso at ubuntu.com]
>>>>>> Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 11:05 PM
>>>>>> To: Alex Midence
>>>>>> Cc: Christopher Chaltain; vinux-support at googlegroups.com; 'Ubuntu
>>>>>> Accessibility Mailing List'; orca-list at gnome.org
>>>>>> Subject: Re: [orca-list] VINUX-SUPPORT: RE: Ubuntu Unity Desktop
>>>>>> to go to Mir and QT
>>>>>> On Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 01:33:34PM EST, Alex Midence wrote:
>>>>>>> Also, for the record, I fully recognize and appreciate all the
>>>>>>> hard work of the developers of the Ubuntu community who freely
>>>>>>> give of their time to make things accessible.  However, it was
>>>>>>> disappointing to finally have gotten a very accessible port of
>>>>>>> Unity in 12.04 only to be told that we were back to poor a11y in
>>>>>>> other versions of the distro for at the very least 2 full years.
>>>>>> For the record, I was disappointed as well. I expressed my desire
>>>>>> for Unity to stick with using Qt at the time, given the
>>>>>> accessibility advantages it brought for one, and the fact that it
>>>>>> would have made maintaining unity easier as the nux GUI toolkit
>>>>>> wouldn't also need to be maintained, and Qt is well established
>>>>>> etc.
>>>>>> I am the only developer working for Canonical who spends at least
>>>>>> some of the time working on accessibility issues. I say some of
>>>>>> the time, because I do have other duties, in fact the primary
>>>>>> reason why I was hired was not to work exclusively on
>>>>>> accessibility, although the powers that be are ok with me doing
>>>>>> so.
>>>>>> Having said that, my big focus for the next 10-12 months will
>>>>>> almost exclusively be getting Qt5, Mir, and Unity as accessible an
>>>>>> environment as one person can possibly manage. Qt5 helps somewhat,
>>>>>> but the specific parts of Qt that are being used for the new Unity
>>>>>> still have some rough spots when it comes to accessibility, and
>>>>>> there is also the changing graphics stack and everythign that goes
>>>>>> with it to deal with.
>>>>>> Given these changes, and given I am the only person who is likely
>>>>>> going to be working on all of this, I cannot really promise
>>>>>> anything, given the work that is required, and given the time and
>>>>>> resources, or possibly lack there of, available to do so. I do
>>>>>> really appreciate that you all want regularly updated, accessible
>>>>>> distro releases that have the latest accessibility crack, but
>>>>>> please keep in mind just how many of us in the wider *nix
>>>>>> accessibility community there are, and also keep in mind how many
>>>>>> of us are involved with some form of active development in the
>>>>>> area, and if you want to dig deeper, think about the number of us
>>>>>> working on GUI desktop accessibility of some kind.
>>>>>> I try to take the approach of under promising, and at least
>>>>>> delivering, and if I can over deliver, than thats great.
>>>>>> In the meantime, there is the Ubuntu GNOME remix, with GNOME
>>>>>> shell, wich does work quite well these days. I'll do my best to
>>>>>> try and fix any issues people may notice with that release, given
>>>>>> the accessibility tools and infrastructure are shared with GNOME
>>>>>> and Unity.
>>>>>> Thanks, and I really appreciate your understanding, and support.
>>>>>> Luke
> --
> Christopher (CJ)
> chaltain at Gmail
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Christopher (CJ)
chaltain at Gmail

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