[Accessibility] PROPOSAL: Accessible Document

Kris Van Hees aedil-access at alchar.org
Wed Apr 20 13:55:40 PDT 2005

You might be interested in the work done by the DocArch group of the Catholic
University of Leuven (http://www.docarch.be/).


On Wed, Apr 20, 2005 at 03:46:25PM -0500, Catherine Laws wrote:
> Using today's accessibility APIs, developers of assistive technologies face
> difficult challenges trying to implement logical navigation of the content
> and structures of complex documents for users with vision, learning,
> physical, and cognitive impairments.  Some of the challenges include:
> - Lack of rich semantic information to identify different document object
> types (text, dynamic, embedded, enabled, etc) and document structure
> - Performance issues when navigating large documents and structures and
> when running out of process
> - Missing dynamic document changes
> - Different cross-platform APIs (MSAA on Windows versus AT-SPI on
> Linux/Gnome) and application APIs (COM and DOM interfaces in Windows) for
> accessing similar documents (word processing, Web pages and applications,
> spreadsheets, PDF, presentation, etc) and similar applications (Microsoft
> Office, OpenOffice, Adobe Reader, Mozilla, Internet Explorer, etc)
> - Extensibility and scriptability of the APIs
> To address these challenges, I propose the formation of a new FSG
> Accessibility sub-workgroup, named the Accessible Document Workgroup, which
> would initially adopt the following goals:
> -  Create and propose a standard cross-platform, cross-document
> accessibility API extension for navigating all content and structure and
> for handling events and changes in complex documents.
> - Include new techniques for handling performance issues
> - Provide for extensibility and scriptability
> An initial activity will be to create a "gap analysis" chart that
> categorizes and compares all the different accessibility APIs and other
> APIs used by assistive technologies on different platforms today to access
> document content and structure information (including AT-SPI and ATK,
> Microsoft's MSAA and UI Automation, various Document Object Models, IBM
> Home Page Reader Web Access Technology (WAT), and others). Then the group
> will start drafting an API recommendation for extending accessibility APIs
> (AT-SPI and potentially MSAA/UI Automation and others) to provide a richer
> accessible document interface that addresses performance and semantic
> information issues when navigating today's complex documents. Also, the
> workgroup will draft a style guide which will recommend navigation key
> sequences, shortcut keys, user interface components, and highlighting that
> assistive technologies should provide for navigating and obtaining
> information about complex documents.
> If we were a subgroup, then we could have an FSG mailing list, post
> recommendations and documents to share on the freestandards.org site, and
> hold regular teleconferences to openly discuss accessible document
> proposals.  Any architects and developers involved in creating,
> implementing, or accessing accessible interfaces for documents who want to
> participate in this working group should contact Cathy Laws
> (claws at us.ibm.com).
> Cathy Laws
> IBM Accessibility Center, WW Strategic Platform Enablement
> 11501 Burnet Road,  Bldg 904 Office 5F017, Austin, Texas 78758
> Phone: (512) 838-4595, FAX: (512) 838-9367, E-mail: claws at us.ibm.com, Web:
> http://www.ibm.com/able
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