[Accessibility] Accessibility Minutes 9 Nov 2005

John Goldthwaite jgoldthwaite at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 9 12:24:41 PST 2005

11/09/05 Accessibility meeting			 

Gunnar Schmidt
Olaf Schmidt
Bill Haneman
Janina Sajka
John Goldthwaite
George Kraft
Catherine Laws
Earl Johnson
Peter Korn
Minutes from 10/26 approved.

Where to post the proposed keyboard RFC
Earl- some brainstorming on where to post it.
User Interface - uvit.  Gnome accessibility site
and Trace’s 508 site.
Peter- good, KDE access list, Mozilla access
list.  Announce fairly widely.  Open office
accessibility.  There are enough people that are
Janina- I agree, we need to cast a wide net.  We
want everyone to know that there is an open
source accessibility standard that people can
standardize with.  We want the visibility.

Earl- need contacts for these lists.  Please send
the alias addresses to me.
Janina- do we know of lists where people who use
the keyboard technologies.
John- the RESNA list for rehab engineers would
reach a lot of those people.
Peter- also the list for Mac Accessibility - will
post it.
Janina- Discussion on (item C) - questions on
standardization activity.  We’re well past a
beginning on delivering accessibility.  We’re
talking about Massachusetts and other political
entities.  We had a question from Amanda who does
PR for FSG.  I will be at LinuxWorld in Stuttgart
next week so may have to answer questions.  It
seems there is too much emphasis is on the fact
there are no applications to read and write ODF
at this time.  Nobody has done an accessibility
review of ODF but it seems that is more likely to
be accessible since it is an open spec.  It is an
important for Massachusetts to say they need user
agents for various communities to read and write.
Peter- I’ve been thinking a lot about this.  We
need to separate the issue of the format from the
issue of the user agents. Because it is open we
can have a discussion about accessibility. It is
using a number of W3C standards that have gone
through accessibility review.  You cannot say
accessibility is a binary thing, it is accessible
to Who (what specific functional limitations) and
How.  For people with physical impairments, the
user agents that read and write ODF support our
keyboard standard, and low vision.  The
discussion needs to be more nuanced.  The reason
that people with severe disabilities are able to
use Windows is because the AT vendors have
reverse engineered it.  It requires huge
investments by the AT vendors to make even a
single application to work.  That is precisely
why access standards are needed.  – KDE and Star
Office that read ODF have done a lot of work on
accessibility.  We are working to solve the
greater problem.  In a formal way we might
consider a more formal connection with the open
office access community.  There is a move to
establish an accessibility subcommittee on the
Open doc committee.

Janina- we’ve authored various statements that
have been useful. We can say that FSG supports
open standards for accessibility in documents.

Peter- there has been work on conversion from ODF
to Daisy.   Speaking to main stream world, Mass
decision makers.  Don’t want to over sell where
we are today.  People’s experience is with JAWS,
Zoomtext, Windoweyes with Open Office.  Their
support of Java Bridge is non existent so Open
Office does work well with them at present. (The
access architecture is there. Its just not
supported by AT vendors who are focusing on mass
market applications that don’t use it).

Bill- Open document is inherently more accessible
than a proprietary one.
tools for read/write ODF are providing semantics
current experience of users with assistive
technology is poor.
inherent access is different from current
experience since the whole stack has to be

Olaf- we are working on a statement from KDE and
K office groups on accessibility.  I’ve been
contacted by Leon Schiemman about situation in
Massachusetts looking for people who to get
expertise on accessibility.   
Janina- he will be at LinuxWorld and I expect
I’ll be visiting with him.

Olaf- I agree with the things discussed.  Open
Office accessibility team should point to the
K-office access effort.
Peter- the Open Office access web page has been
there a long time and is extensive, not just
started for Massachusetts.
Janina- what is going on in Europe , Munich, etc.
Olaf- the media have been reporting on the
activities in Massachusetts.  The German
parliament has an on line petition to only use
open documents within the German government.  The
government has been a long time supporter of open
document formats and have helped in defining it. 
Also in city governments.  There is no debate but
people are watching it.
Janina- my thought is to tease out some of the
things into sound bites which we can share with
Amanda to see if FSG can use them, e.g. when Jim
Zemlin is giving talks.  I’ll go through the
audio and pull them out.

Olaf- it has really shown the KDE community how
important accessibility is.
Peter- there are several challenges we need to
solve if Massachusetts tries to test this.  Our
bug reporting is not very friendly.  It would be
great if the open source community could fix that
Janina- if Bugzilla could go from check boxes to
pull down list that would be a big improvement,
too much cognitive load with the check boxes.
Peter- this would be something that would be a
good project - this a good time of year for
charitable feeling- need a list of bugs.  There

Bill- I know that is happening in a few areas,
I’m not sure how wide spread the interest is.
Peter- good attendance at Sen. Pachenko’s
hearings last week,  
Janina- we should strategize on how to make best
use of this publicity.  We should talk about it,
maybe in December.  We need to show some
interesting things at CSUN in March or things may
devolve.  If people don’t see solid improvements
by then, there may be pressure to throw out open
I tried Firefox and Gnopernicus last week and was
surprised how well it worked.

Janina- I wasn’t able to attend the AT/SPI
meeting last week.  If you want recordings, I’ll
show you how to initiate that.
George- send me the instructions.
Janina- I know you get good minutes thanks to
Cathy. When is the next meeting?
Catherine- I thought we were going to meet this
Janina- I’ll send you those instructions, George.
 Call me if you want to practice with it.

George- Friday 10/28 posting on FSG IP policy.
Jim said that FSG has hired a consultant to
rework FSG IP policy.  Jim suggests that we wait
for them to finish that and take a look at it. 
They would like to do one at the FSG level but it
presents problems for members.  There should be a
draft in about a month (around beginning of
December).  If there is donated technology, the
workgroup should review it for IP problems.  
Janina- so we’ll put this on hold until that
draft is available.
George- I’ll have them notify us when that is

Olaf- is there a list of accessibility problems
in Bugzilla?	  
Bill- which Bugzilla?  Mozilla bugzilla?
Olaf- ...  Should be the same for all of them.
Janina- the issues are with the HTML markup.  It
is a matter of creating a different page to
display the data.  The data is okay.  I think
that it is technically accessible, but there are
too many check boxes so that its too easy to get
lost for a blind person.  It’s a usability rather
than accessiblity problem.

Bill- we need somewhere for the responsible
parties to discuss it.  Need to get a page where
the maintainers can see Janina’s complaints.  
Janina- give them better ways of handling things,
CSS, etc.  Where do we set it up, Bugzilla.org?
Bill- we can set it up and invite people to join.
 We should talk to them, maybe they will
volunteer to set it up.  If not, we can do it.
Peter- we should contact them.  
Bill- it would be good if we would offer as a
curticy... Massachusetts situation, etc.
Peter- over 400 organizations that use Bugzilla
Bill- part of problem may be a deployment
problem.  There will be a lot of inertia within
all those users.  If it is a source problem, it
will take years to get all of them to adopt the
accessible version.
Janina- so Olaf will you contact them for us?  
Olaf- I’ll look to see who to contact. 

Janina- two weeks from today will be Thanksgiving
holiday in the US.  I will be in Frankfurt next
Peter- there is enough going on that we aught to
meet next week sometime.
Janina- I can call from the conference via
calling card.  	
Peter- many of the Open Office accessiblity
people live in Germany.  I sent them a note to
see if they would like to meet with you.  
Janina- we have a sign in to our list from the
Massachusetts CEO office so they may be

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