Peter - thanks for the great ideas. I'll probably not be able to
respond until sometime during NFB as my prep work is dragging on and my
hands really hurt.|
Will you be at NFB? I would like to buy you a sandwich.
On 06/30/2010 01:44 PM, Peter Korn wrote:
Good start on topics. A few comments in-line below.
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.
I'm now subscribed.
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
A task is something that needs to get done that has no prerequisites
and can probably be completed pretty quickly.
We can point to a11y bug databases for these perhaps? Not all bugs
necessarily, but... manually maintaining this might be a pain.
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
Yup. We might also include on this list things that have already
received funding (e.g. making Evince parse accessibility information in
the PDF and expose it properly to Orca). Also we have several AEGIS
funded activities to put here (e.g. generating DAISY books, Braille
embossing, and support for people with language-cognitive impairments
creating & reading text documents - all FLOSS LGPL add-ons to
OpenOffice.org, funded by AEGIS).
challenge is a really big project that requires a ton of effort and
takes AT in a direction we may have not seen before.
A key one here is speech dictation & control of the desktop. The
obvious thing to build on here is Sphinx 4, a FLOSS speech recognition
engine. VEDICS is a new project out of India to building on Sphinx 4
and the GNOME a11y API/framework to do this. Another is what I broadly
call "3rd generation assistive technologies" - utilizing the
accessibility API info on the GNOME desktop to go beyond what current
GUI-based (and reverse-engineering-based [or 2nd generation] AT does
today. AEGIS is helping start this in the magnification space, but
there is a lot more to do there.
WYNN-style AT for the entire desktop is another significant effort.
Not sure if it is a "grand challenge" or just a "challenge". Depends
in part on how far it goes.
I would like to come up with about 100 of these items across the three
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.
Why not have this as part of the task list?
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.
A number of the folks (e.g. me) who participate in GNU accessibility
will not want to be part of any sort of public shaming. I appreciate
the idea, and also the need for it. But we should be careful about
what is done in various folks names. At a minimum, I would like some
distance from whoever does this.
Another thing to keep in mind: what is the charter of GNU? GNU
regularly addresses abuse of FLOSS, regularly speaks out against DRM,
etc. But where should GNU come down on a website which may or may not
be using FLOSS tools (e.g. Apache), which may or may not support FLOSS
user agents (e.g. Firefox), but has a bad accessibility story/support.
Should GNU accessibility only speak to accessibility, separate from
where an organization stands on FLOSS/freedom support? Should it only
criticize our "friends" (in the "freedom" sense) who are blowing it
around accessibility? Only criticize those who blow it in all areas?
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
Yup. See AEGIS Concept Coding Framework add-in to OpenOffice.org, to
be announced soon. It is an entry in this broad space; others are
needed (e.g. TextHelp-style apps). And also I think with AT-SPI we can
do some desktop-wide things that would be very powerful.
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
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
Yes indeed. I'd add to that list - perhaps as a "second tier" - IM,
audio & video chat, and calendar (e.g. Lightning add into
Thunderbird). Music software is also always popular, particularly
among the blind. We then also have constellations of apps that are
popular/important for particular disability groups. E.g. scanning
software for the blind, dictionary/thesaurus software for folks with
writing impairments, environmental control for folks with physical
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
Peter Korn | Accessibility Principal
Phone: +1 650
500 Oracle Parkway | Redwood City, CA 94065
Oracle is committed to developing practices and
help protect the environment
Director of Access Technology
GNU's Not Unix!