[Accessibility] FAQs for the Web site

Janina Sajka janina at rednote.net
Wed Oct 15 10:38:24 PDT 2003

I agree -- particularly RE points 4, 5, and 6.

So, we should drop 4 and 6, and expand 5 as Bill has it.

But, I would add one more statement--which is something along the lines
that helping our group develop standards and best practices should
help increase the number of accessibility supportive SDKs.

Is that appropriate/accurate?

Bill Haneman writes:
> From: Bill Haneman <Bill.Haneman at Sun.COM>
> Hi Sharon:
> Thanks for these suggestions.  I like your answer to #1, though one
> might want to include mention of how following other (toolkit-specific)
> programming guidelines can ensure that support for 'assistive
> technologies' is enabled for those applications.  So we need a
> definition of 'assistive technologies' as well.
> (more comments below)
> > 1. What  does the term  "accessible application development" mean?
> >  It means developing software that can be used by as many people as
> >  possible, including individuals with disabilities. By following simple
> >  criteria in software design, such as the provision of keyboard navigation
> >  and adherence to user-specified system appearance settings you can reduce
> >  or eliminate barriers for many users, including users who may not identify
> >  themselves as 'disabled'.
> > 
> >  2. How do I know the guidelines to follow?
> >  Guidelines are available through several different sources and may vary
> >  depending upon the application programming language or Web site being
> >  developed. Information on guidelines and Section 508 compliance can be
> >  found at http://www.access-board.gov/508.htm. Also, see the Additional
> >  Resource links for more information.
> Rather than 'depending upon the application programming language or Web
> site being developed' (wording which I find a bit confusing and possibly
> misleading), perhaps we could say 'the specific guidelines which are
> appropriate may depend on the application development environment being
> used and targeted'.  I think a pointer to the GNOME accessibility guide
> for developers might be among the useful links here, if in fact we want
> to provide example links.  Is mention of 508 (and only 508) too
> US-centric?
> #3 looks good.
> >  4. Are there any automated tools available for testing accessibility?
> For web sites, yes; but I don't think this is our focus so I would not
> necessarily include such tools on our site.  For applications, the
> answer is 'yes' but only for Java applications at this time.
> This strikes me as an unsatisfactory answer, do we want to draw
> attention to this in our initial FAQ?  I'm not so sure we do.
> >  5. Does it make a difference which software development tools I use?
> Yes; but what is the issue we actually want to help solve via this
> question?  We can say that for the moment on Linux/Unix and LSB
> platforms, applications using the GTK+-2 and GNOME 2 toolkits, or the
> Java/Swing toolkits (versions 1.3 and above), have built-in
> accessibility and assistive technology support.  We can call attention
> to the fact that KDE and Qt have this on the roadmap but as of this time
> do not have built-in support for assistive technologies.  We might say
> that in theory any application programming language or toolkit can
> interoperate with the existing AT-SPI interfaces but do not feature
> preexisting support for the existing Linux/Unix assistive technology
> services.
> >  6. Are some programming languages more accessible then others?
> In theory no; I think the answer to #5 would be more helpful than
> delving into this topic; the programming language should make no
> difference _provided_ the language can be used with one of the above
> development toolkits (that would include C, Java, C++, perl, python, and
> probably many other languages that have gtk+ bindings of some sort).
> - Bill
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Janina Sajka
Email: janina at rednote.net		
Phone: (202) 408-8175

Director, Technology Research and Development
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

Chair, Accessibility Work Group
Free Standards Group

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