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[Access-activists] Next Set of Tasks for GAI

From: Christian Hofstader
Subject: [Access-activists] Next Set of Tasks for GAI
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2010 07:07:51 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/20100423 Thunderbird/3.0.4


Peter and Janina: if you haven't yet joined the access-activists mailing list, please do so as it is the home of our "insiders" whose advice we value highly so I needn't keep CC'ing you guys on emails to the list. It is low traffic and I expect it to stay that way for a while.

Next Set of GNU Accessibility Initiatives

As often seems the case, the first people to jump on to a disability project are the people with vision impairment. So, we have a ton of us but need help from other groups of people with disability as GNU hopes to work in a pan-disability manner.

Now that 508/255 is behind us, NFB will start and end soon and GNU and the vinux guys have worked out an arrangement, we can start on some of our next group of projects, including working on projects that will result in AT for people who are not blind.

I want to make some lists for the GNU Accessibility web pages (these do not exist yet). I want to categorize items into tasks, challenges and grand challenges. People who have worked with Vanderheiden probably know the definitions I have in mind but for you who do not, I'll briefly explain:

A task is something that needs to get done that has no prerequisites and can probably be completed pretty quickly.

A challenge also requires no prerequisites but is a much more substantial effort that probably requires a team as it will probably not be easy for a singleton.

A grand challenge is a really big project that requires a ton of effort and takes AT in a direction we may have not seen before.

I would like to come up with about 100 of these items across the three categories.

We also plan on a table to hold accomplishments but we don't need too many suggestions for that one.


I want a list of the 100 most important items that need repair or implementation in Orca and/or the other free AT software for PWVI. This shouldn't be hard.


While we can yell until we are blue in the face about standards, I would like a "hall of shame" that lists web sites who we have tried to contact regarding accessibility who have chosen not to comply anyway. We can add blog entries regarding sites when they are added to the collection. I'm especially concerned with those that are used for free software things as we really want our team to be the vanguard of what I hope turns into a Gulf like clean up.

Remember, though, we will always give these sites a warning and n days? months? to remediate their pages.


We need to do something of a kick off for other disabilities being added to the initiative.

Right now, I think we should get started on:

* A program for people with learning disabilities and/or dyslexia. This is an enormous group and software like the FS proprietary WYNN and K3000 from KESI show us that a lot of things good for PWVI are building blocks for software for this population.

While is oft used, I don't like the term "learning disabled" as it spans the canyon from mental retardation to dyslexia and other print impairments to autism to cognitive impairments to stroke victims to a whole lot of other maladies, many of which would require often conflicting solutions.

I think we need more precise terms in this category.

* We've also discussed "typing disabilities" which is another trash can name as 
a bunch of things get tossed in that have little relationship to each other. To wit: 
Bill, rms and I all have bad hands from years at keyboards. Our problem can be solved by 
dictation software. Our friend Dennis Brown has no forearms (they got blowed off in Viet 
Nam) and he can also use dictation. A quad I know who works for Sears in their tower in 
Chicago needs to use a blow pipe and an on screen keyboard so dictation is of no value to 
him. Others, people with disorders that need hardware solutions. This list can go on and 
on and the solutions for each form of disability may be different from each other.


We desparately need advisors regarding other disabilities so please send 


I would like to announce that, in one year, we will be working well in the high 
value target applications: Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice. These are what 
precurement people will judge us on and we want to give users the freedoms of 
libre software while also making big improvements to these applications when 
compared to our proprietary competitors.


We need to catalogue and evaluate existing free AT software, including things 
like word completion and other programs not assumed to be entirely for people 
with disabilities.



Please add to this list as I am running on low cafeine and have been up since 
Happy Hacking,

Christian Hofstader
Director of Access Technology
FSF/Project GNU,
GNU's Not Unix!

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