[Accessibility] FSGA Minutes for October 11, Draft #4

Janina Sajka janina at freestandards.org
Wed Oct 25 13:57:14 PDT 2006


Thanks, Olaf. At the risk of perpetuating the process, I have a few
minor edits which I've simply made in line below.

Janina


Hi!

This is Draft #3 of the 10/11/056 minutes, containing both a fixed spelling of 
the names and a number of content corrections.

Cut Here

FSGA Minutes
11 October 2006

Attending:
Gunnar Schmidt
Olaf Schmidt
Janina Sajka
John Goldthwaite
Gary Cramblitt
Cathy Laws
Doug Beattie

John will catch up on the notes from 8/30 and make corrections to 9/6
notes. One correction to last week - AOL was added to the TIETAC.  Last
weeks notes approved with this change.

Janina- Larry Weiss asked us to look at the Freestandards website for 
accessibility.  It passed the W3C validator with no problems.  Janina found
them usable but some problems, a search field is the first field and causes
problems - try to avoid have an open field as the first item on the page - 
this makes it easier to scroll down the page with the screenreader.

Olaf- On most browsers do not focus any text field by default. You need to 
explicitly move the cursor.

Janina- still using lynx so it is not a general problem then

Doug- do we know Dave Bolter? 

Janina- he's the primary programmer on the GOK on-screen keyboard 

Doug- Okay, he's added to the list 

Janina- a number of Novell people were at the Gnome accessibility
conference last week.. At least 3 , some from their Cambridge Usability
center.  Also people from WebAIM, Redhat, and State of Massachusetts IDT
department, There was a wide range of experience in accessibility, some new
people, some of the accessibility developers.  Bill did a very cogent job
of organizing the talk on the ATK AT/SPI architecture.  A number of people
asked for the slides. There were a number of demos: Dasher, gok, etc.  
Discussion in the afternoon. Using accessibility as test method for
desktop - for interoperability testing not accessibility. This was all on 
Sunday, which is the only day I attended.

Olaf- KDE meeting in Dublin.  Gunnar presented general intro to
AT/SPI. Olaf presented a how to session for programmers. Things that have
an impact on access- keyboard layout.  Many questions on how to do things. 
For bigger picture - we had meetings with Gary to plan how to complete the
implementation of AT-SPI in KDE. Later in the day there were presentations
and general talks. Still need to summarize this for the group but I will
leave to Bill Haneman and Gary.  We also discussed color themes.  Many
applications need more colors than KDE and Gnome  provide.  Will be getting
suggestions together.

Janina- I agree we need both Gary and Bill on the call for the deeper
discussion.

Gary- Harald is a key player in the discussion so we need Harald and Bill
at a minimum. I'd like to see that continued in a sub-forum.

Janina- I will email Bill and Harald and organize that. 

Gary- I think Harald is busy with their 4.2 release.

Janina- when is the release date for 4.2?

Olaf- 4.2 was released last week.

Janina- Okay so maybe Harald is more available now.

Gary- you mentioned that a couple of Massachusetts ITD people at Gnome.  I
observed that they tended to look at Free and open source as a product to
be purchased.  They didn't realize the Mass could participate in the
development.

Janina- they mentioned that it was under discussion but I don't know what
the impediment is.  If they are getting applications to free, maybe they
would like to contribute some of the financial resources to provide the
kind of support they would like.  There is more than programming- support,
documentation.  That was discussed at Gnome and I think they understand
that better than they did last year.  The more interested they are in
adopting the technology, the more they maybe willing to become involved. 
They seem to be uncertain whether this is an opportunity or a trap.  It seems
that they are making progress, however.

Gary- I know they have to follow acquisition regulations so what seems
obvious to us may be a serious problem for them.

Janina- Massachusetts is still figuring out what their standard should be
and how to judge candidate applications.  In terms of accessibility, no one
from the Mass. ITD has any Linux/Unix accessibility experience.  The access
person has some experience with remote access shell but some time ago. 
This is Joe Lazzaro who is very smart and competent.  I don't think Open
Office and Firefox are ready for them yet, but by the time they are perhaps Massachusetts
will be ready to implement.

Olaf- has there been any discussion of KDE-GNOME interoperability?
Janina- They said there was a meeting in which they got way down
into the AT-SPI details, but I was not able to attend.

Janina: Didn't do that at the Sunday Gnome meeting since many people would
have been lost in that discussion.  It was more of an overview day.  We
thought we'd have an agenda starting at 8:30 to 5 but the organizers
wanted everyone in plenary meetings until 10:30 the morning and after 3 in
the afternoon so we had 3 hours less than we expected and things had to be
compacted.  We had to remove the session on testing and that was moved to
Saturday before the access meeting occurred so I missed that.

Olaf- the KDE conference was oriented toward developers so it was much more
technical?

Janina- the new W3C guidance will talk more about contrast when
discussing colors.  There will be something that you can objectively
measure.

Olaf- I looked at that. We wanted to allow the user to change the colors
according to their needs in addition to contrast.

Janina- we'll yield back the rest of the time today and meet again next
week when we should have a more of the group with us.

Olaf- We asked that a question on software patents be taken to FSG board? 
Has this been discussed?

Janina- It hasn't yet.  There has been a request to revisit all the issues
around intellectual property.  We and other groups have requested that and
the board will be working on that which would include software patents. 
Didn't you provide us with a draft last year?

Olaf- the idea was that companies that participate in FSG would do
something similar to what Sun did for the OpenDocument standard. Companies 
participating in FSG would need to grant patent rights for implementing the 
specs. The keyboard spec is relatively simple, but for AT-SPI it is really 
important that we have a policy in place before the standard is released.

Janina- my recollection is that we came up with a draft

Olaf- George said he wanted to discuss it with the FSG board.

Janina- we should come up with the guidance we would recommend to the FSG
board.  It should be something that will sit well with us.  I will put that
on the agenda, perhaps next week.  We need to have more people here to have
a useful discussion.

Olaf- I don't think the patent is urgent but wanted to discuss it.

Janina- it is not urgent but the discussion will take a while.  We need
that in place before releasing the AT/SPI standard. If we wish to get
AT/SPI out in 2007 we need to resolve the intellectual property issues.

Addendum from Bill Haneman (in reply to an earlier draft of these minutes):

I have a couple of comments about the minutes:

> We also discussed color themes [at the Gnome Developer Conference]. Many
> applications need more colors than KDE and Gnome provide. Will be getting
> suggestions together.

This came up again on the gnome-accessibility mailing list, in the context
of providing color-blindness support for apps that draw things like pie
charts, etc. it's certainly an important problem that needs a solution.

> Olaf- has there been any discussion of the accessibility independent
> of Bill Hanaman? Janina- said there was a meeting in which they got way
> down into the details.
>
> Janina: Didn't do that at the Sunday Gnome meeting since many people
> would have been lost in that discussion. It was more of an overview day.
> We thought we'd have an agenda starting at 8:30 to 5 but the
> organizers wanted everyone in plenary meetings until 10:30 the morning
> and after 3 in the afternoon so we had 3 hours less than we expected
> and things had to be compacted. We had to remove the session on
> testing and that was moved to Saturday before the access meeting
> occurred so I missed that.

We got down into a lot of technical detail on Saturday and again on
Monday. The plenary sessions were also developer sessions, which took
place before the break-out groups met. The accessibility-related
breakout groups and the Saturday accessibility group reported back to
the morning and afternoon plenary sessions several times over the
weekend. Some pretty important and encouraging things emerged from this,
so I think this was a very positive set of meetings.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I attended a mozilla accessibility
summit/hackfest which is still going on. Good progress is being made
there too, and I understand that the latest versions (beta, perhaps?) of
Firefox 3 already are substantially accessible via orca, which is a big
improvement over Firefox 2. For stability reasons I would suggest that
only early adopters and testers use Firefox 3 at the moment, but the
accessibility support seems much improved.

> Olaf- the KDE conference was oriented toward developers so it was much
> more technical.

There may be some confusion about this in the minutes; actually the
Gnome conference was intended to be entirely a developer conference as
well. It is true that some Mass folks showed up who were not developers
but the focus of the discussions was on topics of relevance to
developers. In some cases these topics were discussed from an end-user
perspective but the intended policies and plans that came out of the
discussion were still aimed at developers. Overall, having attended both
conferences, I would say the Gnome one was at least as developer-centric
as the KDE one.

Regards,

Bill




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