'

[Irl-dean] Fw: E-Access Bulletin: May 2006

Gerry Ellis gerry.ellis at feelthebenefit.com
Tue May 23 08:24:59 IST 2006


Hi,

I think that the info below will be of interest to you, particularly the first story.


take care,

Gerry Ellis
t/a Feel The BenefIT

Tel   (+353-1) 282-7791
Mob   (085) 716-8665
email gerry.ellis at feelthebenefit.com

If you don't know where you're going,
How will you know when you get there?

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dan Jellinek" <dan at headstar.com>
To: <eaccess at headstar.com>
Sent: Friday, May 19, 2006 2:59 PM
Subject: E-Access Bulletin: May 2006


> ++E-ACCESS BULLETIN.
> - ISSUE 77, MAY 2006.
> 
> Technology news for people with vision impairment
> ( http://www.headstar.com/eab/ ).
> Sponsored by RNIB ( http://www.rnib.org.uk ).
> 
> NOTE: Please forward this free bulletin to others (subscription details 
> at the end). We conform to the accessible Text Email Newsletter 
> (TEN) Standard:
> http://www.headstar.com/ten/ .
> 
> 
> ++Issue 77 Contents.
> 
> Section One: News.
> 
> 01: User Experience Core To Updated Web Accessibility Guidelines 
> - web designers to receive clearer guidance. 
> 
> 02: Mobile Journey Planner Under Development
> - trials for accessible route finding device begin this summer. 
> 
> 03: Accessible Multifunction Device To Launch This Year
> - digital TV and radio, CD player and DAISY player in one.
> 
> 04: Double Launch For Accessibility Boosting Campaigns
> - top 10 'reasonable adjustments' and inclusive IT charter drawn up.
> 
> News in Brief: 05: First Award - company receives web accreditation; 
> 06: Access Calls - Voice over IP phone tutorial; 07: Testing, Testing - 
> access tool update. 
> 
> Section Two: 'The Inbox' - Readers' Forum.
> 08: Cost Analysis - assistive technology cost debate; 09: Broadcast 
> News - digital TV query response; 10: Listen Up - audio description 
> offer. 
> 
> Section Three: Focus - Web Accessibility
> 11: Conducting Effective User Testing: Lack of user testing by people 
> with a disability ahead of product and service launches has long been 
> the bugbear of disability lobbyists, organisations and vision impaired 
> people. Stefan Haselwimmer reports on how the Usability Exchange 
> addresses this missing link. 
>  
> Section Four: Opinion - Free and Open Source Software
> 12: Opening Minds: There is a deep chasm between people with a 
> disability and the community advocating free and open source 
> software, which allows source codes to be shared, writes Marco 
> Fioretti. To unite them, he says more public funding and more 
> communication between the two parties is required. 
> 
> [Contents ends].
> 
> 
> ++Special Notice: 'e-Access '06' - Technology For All
> - Early Bird Offer Until 30 June
> - 14 September 2006, Central London
> - http://www.headstar-events.com/eaccess06/
> 
> 'e-Access'06' is the UK's leading annual event on access to all
> technologies, including internet, PCs, mobile phones and digital TV
> and radio, by people with disabilities and people of all abilities.
> 
> The conference focuses on how digital technology is enabling people
> with disabilities to achieve greater independence. It also looks at the
> problems people face with access to technology including accessible
> banking and broadcasting. Sponsors include BSkyB, Jadu and Ford.
> 
> Places normally cost 195 pounds plus VAT for public sector, 295
> pounds plus VAT for private sector and 145 pounds plus VAT for
> small charities and not for profit organisations (turnover below
> 300,000 pounds). However if you register before 1 July you will save
> 50 pounds per delegate by typing 'eb-offer' after your name. For more
> information see:
> http://www.headstar-events.com/eaccess06/ .
> 
> [Special notice ends].
> 
> 
> ++Section One: News.
> 
> +01: User Experience Core To Updated Web Accessibility Guidelines.
> 
> A more structured approach to user experience, based around precise 
> tests that help translate user feedback into accessible web design, is at 
> the centre of new guidelines being drawn up by the Web Accessibility 
> Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium
> ( WAI - http://www.w3.org/WAI/ ).
> 
> The updated Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 
> ( WCAG 2.0 - http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag20.php )
> will lay out a practical approach for including feedback from users, 
> giving web designers clearer guidance on improving accessibility 
> during the design process, E-Access Bulletin has learned. "The 
> normative portion of WCAG 2.0 is the 'success criteria'. The success  
> criteria are designed to be precisely testable, while the checkpoints in 
> WCAG 1.0 were not," Judy Brewer, director of the Web Accessibility 
> Initiative told E-Access Bulletin.
> 
> The checkpoints in WCAG 1.0 make design recommendations, such as 
> "Use navigation mechanisms in a consistent manner", but they don't 
> provide much detailed help for designers needing to assess the results 
> of implementing these recommendations. "We are developing tests for 
> the implementation techniques associated with WCAG 2.0 success 
> criteria. Our goal is to enable more reliable assessment of conformance 
> to WCAG 2.0," she said. The only test procedures laid down in WCAG 
> 1.0 are for automated checking tools, rather than human users. 
> 
> The new guidelines also have a much wider scope than those they 
> replace, according to Brewer. "Given the rapid and continuing 
> evolution of web technologies, the WAI felt it would be most valuable 
> to develop a guideline for web content accessibility that could apply 
> across all web technologies," she said. "The Web Content Accessibility 
> Guidelines 1.0 had focused mainly on HTML, as do many other 
> locally-developed web accessibility guidelines," she explained.
> 
> The first version of the standard, WCAG 1.0, was released in 1999, so 
> updated guidelines are needed to make sure that work on accessibility 
> keeps pace with innovations in technology. According to Brewer, the 
> long wait is partly due to wider scope and greater detail in WCAG 2.0, 
> and the WAI team have also consulted widely on the new guidelines 
> she said. "We've sought extensive input from users of WCAG 1.0 
> around the world during the development of WCAG 2.0. Again, while 
> this has added to the development timeline, we feel that this will help 
> us meet the goal of developing a guideline which can become a 
> convergence target for harmonisation of standards on web 
> accessibility," she said.
> 
> At present, WAI is requesting public feedback on the latest draft of 
> WCAG 2.0 by the end of May
> ( http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-
> ig/2006AprJun/0023.html ).
> A final release date for the new guidelines has yet to be fixed. 
> According to Brewer this is because the results of the public 
> consultation need to be absorbed and an amended draft drawn up, and 
> then W3C will examine the proposed new guidelines before giving 
> them its final stamp of approval.
> 
>  
> +03: Mobile Journey Planner Under Development.
> 
> A device providing personalised journey planning aimed at passengers 
> with a disability is under development and will be tested by vision 
> impaired people in England and Ireland this Summer.
> 
> The project team is developing a personal digital assistant (PDA) with 
> built-in mobile phone and audio output aimed at people with mobility 
> impairments to guide users to and from public transport networks and 
> enable them to request accessible travel information on the move. 
> 'MAPPED,' 
> (http://www.bmt.org/brochures/Focus%20Issue%202%202005.pdf)
> a three-year European Commission funded programme, uses software 
> that runs both on a central server and on the PDA. The servers and 
> client "talk" to each other over the General Packet Radio System 
> (GPRS) mobile phone network. 
> "Typically a user will enter the start and end points of a route they 
> want to travel along into the PDA. MAPPED will know where the user 
> is because it contains a handheld geolocation receiver that 
> communicates with satellites. It will then suggest a route and at all 
> times send accessibility information relevant to their location."
> There are also plans for the device to allow users to make advance 
> bookings for assistance at underground stations, for example, possibly 
> via SMS text sent from the device.
> 
> "Public transport is notoriously underused by people with a disability," 
> research scientist Dr Gary Randall of British Maritime Technology 
> (BMT - 
> http://www.bmt.org/ ),
> developing the device, told delegates at this month's seminar on 
> location-based services for people with a disability 
> (http://www.tiresias.org/phoneability/seminar_location_based_services
> .htm )
> hosted by PhoneAbility
> ( http://www.tiresias.org/phoneability/ ). 
> 
> According to Randall, when it comes to journey planning there is a 
> lack of accessible information for passengers with a disability. "The 
> combination of services that MAPPED offers is new - all types of 
> routing and accessibility information and reservation-making."
> 
> But digital maps do not currently include information needed by 
> people with mobility impairments on steps, road gradients doorways, 
> paths and lifts for example. "Maps need augmenting to include 
> information we need," Randall said. "It's been a real slog to get the 
> data together and handle the complexity of that data," Randall said. 
> Eventually, the device will enable users to add relevant details to maps 
> as they encounter them.
> 
> Following trials in Dublin in Ireland and Winchester in England, 
> further tests will take place in Barcelona, Spain and Genoa, Italy, in co-
> operation with European mobility project ASK-IT 
> ( http://www.ask-it.org/ ). 
> 
> 
> +02: Accessible Multifunction Device To Launch This Year.
> 
> A product providing access to a wide range of digital media all in one 
> package is set to launch by the end of this year. The Digital Media 
> Centre combines the functions of a Freeview digital TV set-top box, 
> digital radio tuner, and disc player and recorder. 
> 
> The Digital Media Centre, developed by Portset Systems
> ( http://www.portset.co.uk/pdmc.htm ), 
> provides access to electronic programme guides in audio or on-screen 
> formats, audio-described TV and DVD content, audio CDs and talking 
> books in the Daisy format. The system can be used with or without a 
> TV set. A hard drive is built into the system, enabling users to record 
> up to 100 hours of TV content directly, or to pause live TV content and 
> resume where they left off.
> 
> As well as recording onto the internal hard drive, users can record onto 
> audio CDs. For users with partial vision, Digital Media Centre can be 
> connected to a TV, accessing programme guides on-screen as well as 
> via an audio output provided by a synthetic voice. Users can adjust the 
> size and colour of the on-screen display to suit their needs. 
> 
> These features add to the functionality of an earlier model that has 
> been available since January this year. According to Graham Thomas, 
> chief executive of Portset Systems, the new features were prompted by 
> feedback from users. "We've had a large order book since we 
> launched, and some very useful comments from customers," he said.
> According to Thomas, the new Digital Media Centre will retail at 
> around 900 pounds.
> 
> At present, the other option for users needing audio-described digital 
> TV content via Freeview is the Netgem i-Player, a set-top box that 
> doesn't have the Digital Media Centre's range of functions.
> 
> Availability of audio described content via digital TV is one of the 
> issues covered by a public consultation run by the regulator Ofcom on 
> access to broadcast services. The closing date for responses is 8 June 
> 2006. For more information see:
> http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/accessservs/access.pdf .
> 
> 
> +04: Double Launch For Accessibility Boosting Campaigns.  
> 
> Efforts to communicate the basic points of good practice in technology 
> design to a wider audience have been boosted by the launch this month 
> of two initiatives aiming to bring users, policymakers, and the private 
> sector together.
> 
> On 5 May, 2080partners,
> ( http://www.2080partners.com/ ),
> a group that includes the British Dyslexia Association, launched the 
> Well Adjusted Campaign, which aims to draw up a list of the top 10 
> reasonable adjustments that will improve the accessibility of web sites. 
> 
> The campaign will consult with accessibility experts and the private 
> sector to draw up good practice guidelines that are effective, but easy 
> to understand. "We're aiming at people who want to do it, but find 
> accessibility scary and complicated," said Sally Hayward of the 
> 2080partners team.
> 
> Separately, a group of organisations including The Royal National 
> Institute for Deaf People ( RNID - 
> http://www.rnid.org.uk/ )
> is launching an initiative to draft a 'charter for disabled people and 
> ICT'. The initiative, which launched on 15 May at a Parliamentary 
> reception, aims to draw on a broad range of consultees to raise 
> awareness of inclusive design and identify its key principles. The end 
> result will be a statement that is easy to understand and can fit on a 
> single sheet of paper.
> 
> The project is funded by the Alliance for Digital Inclusion, a pan-
> industry body focused on the wider impact of ICTs in society. A web 
> site has been set up for discussion and feedback at:
> http://www.itenables.info  
> 
> 
> ++News in Brief:
> 
> +05: First Award: Insurance company UnumProvident has become the 
> first UK company web site to be awarded with recently-formed web 
> accessibility accreditation 'See It Right: UseAbility.' The award, 
> which appears as a logo on the web site, is presented following RNIB's 
> accessibility audit and checks by UK disability technology charity 
> AbilityNet's panel of people with disabilities:
> http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/content/oneoffs/sir_unum.htm .
>  
> +06: Access Calls: An audio tutorial on how to use voice over IP 
> (VoIP) internet telephone service Skype has been released. Topics 
> covered include: downloading and installing Skype, integrating Skype 
> into e-mail, audio conferencing, text chat, obtaining a Skype account, 
> installing the latest JAWS scripts for Skype and calling contacts with a 
> single key press from anywhere in Windows. Jonathan Mosen's 
> tutorial is available from his web site, and costs around eight pounds:
> http://www.mosen.org/sos/ .
> 
> +07: Testing Testing: Eleven languages have been added to the 
> updated version of a manual web accessibility evaluation tool, the 
> 'Web Accessibility Toolbar' version 1.2. Launched by blindness 
> organisation Vision Australia, the toolbar is free to download and 
> install and is now available in Portuguese, German and Japanese, 
> among others: http://www.visionaustralia.org.au/info.aspx?page=614 .
> 
> [Section One ends].
> 
> 
> ++Special Notice: Building the Perfect Council Web Site
> - An E-Government Bulletin/Socitm Seminar
> - 11 July, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), London.
> 
> A partnership between E-Access Bulletin sister publication E-
> Government Bulletin and the Society of IT Management's Socitm 
> Insight Programme, this conference will attempt to encapsulate every 
> aspect of how to create the perfect council web site: accessible, easy to 
> use and compelling.
> 
> The event will draw on the collected wisdom of seven years of
> Socitm's annual 'Better Connected' review of all UK council web sites,
> bringing together experts and practitioners to share tips and warn
> against pitfalls. Registration costs just 125 pounds for delegates from
> Socitm Insight subscriber authorities; 195 pounds for other public
> sector delegates and 295 pounds for private sector delegates (all rates
> exclude VAT).
> 
> For more information and to register see:
> http://www.headstar-events.com/council/ .
> 
> [Special Notice ends].
> 
> 
> ++Section Two: 'The Inbox'
> - Readers' Forum.
> 
> Please email all contributions or responses to
> inbox at headstar.com .
> 
> +08: Cost Analysis: In response to Fay Rohrlach's contribution on the 
> high cost of assistive technology in the March issue of E-Access 
> Bulletin, Stefan Slucki from South Australia writes: "It's a no-brainer 
> that Fay 's call for less expensive, quality assistive technology products 
> sounds appealing. 
> 
> "Rather than stop at stating this truism, I'd like to suggest that 
> blindness agencies and assistive technology manufacturers be 
> encouraged to provide no or low-interest loans or instalment plans to 
> enable more visually-impaired potential customers to purchase quality 
> equipment. This would both expand their market and maintain a 
> responsible attitude to the equipment by those benefiting from it.
>  
> "Complacency in the assistive technology manufacturing community 
> has set in due to the development of government sponsorship for work-
> related technology-device purchases, but a significant group of 
> visually-impaired people has yet to be seriously considered as potential 
> customers." 
> [please send further comments to: inbox at headstar.com]
>  
> Brian Williams from London also writes in response to Fay's 
> comments: "There was a time when, to listen to an audio book you 
> needed a gadget to play records. Today you need a cassette player, a 
> DAISY player or DAISY software to play the books on your computer 
> and some sort of software to enable your computer to talk you, such as 
> JAWS. 
> 
> "If you want to take your audio books with you on your travels you 
> need an accessible MP3 player. Here in the UK the RNIB are to start 
> selling an accessible MP3 player costing over 200 pounds. You can 
> buy a player which has the same capacity on the open market for less 
> than 30 pounds. 
> 
> "How can this situation be justified? I know companies are not 
> charities but the general public see all this wonderful technology and 
> think our lives are being improved. How many of these international 
> specialised technology companies offer an extended purchasing option 
> enabling blind people to spread the cost over 12 months or more? Even 
> if they did, we still pay much more for access to equipment than our 
> sighted counterparts. 
>  
> "It's like having a wheelchair salesroom at the top of a flight of steps 
> and you can have one providing you buy some equipment to get you 
> up the steps."
> [further responses to inbox at headstar.com]. 
> 
> 
> +09: Broadcast News: Leen Petre, Head of Broadcasting and Talking 
> Images at RNIB writes in response to Roger Petersen from the US 
> about his comments (E-Access Bulletin, February 2006), on improving 
> access for blind people in the US to television. "The consumer expert 
> group on digital switchover in the UK has produced a set of 
> requirements for a digital TV system that would be fully accessible to 
> older people and people with a range of impairments, including visual 
> impairments. There is no equipment on the market at the moment that 
> meets all these requirements, but it gives a good specification to put to 
> manufacturers should your organisation wish to work with 
> manufacturers directly. The document can be found on the RNIB 
> website at:
> www.rnib.org.uk/audiodescription 
> under the heading 'our campaign for accessible TV.' I hope this helps."
> [Further responses to inbox at headstar.com].
> 
> 
> +10: Listen Up: YourLocalCinema.com, the industry-sponsored group 
> responsible for publicising audio description for films, would like 
> vision impaired people to give their views on cinemas' audio 
> description. "The results of the survey will be presented to the cinema 
> industry," says Editor of 'YourLocalCinema.com' Derek Brandon. 
> "Please take a minute to complete the accessible online survey here:
> http://www.yourlocalcinema.com/survey.itfc.ad.html .
> Completed entries will be entered into a draw, with a prize of two free 
> cinema passes to any Vue, Odeon or UCI cinema. There are 10 sets of 
> two passes up for grabs."
> [Responses to inbox at headstar.com].
> 
> [Section Two ends].
> 
> 
> ++Sponsored Notice: QAC Sight Village 2005
> - Birmingham, UK
> - 18-20 July 2006
> 
> The latest in cutting edge technology for people who are blind or
> partially sighted will be on show this July at Sight Village at Queen
> Alexandra College in Birmingham.
> 
> Now in its thirteenth year, the event includes presentations covering
> tactile graphics and employment as well as panel discussions and high
> quality displays from companies and organisations from around the
> world and all over the UK. Sighted guides and tactile maps will
> be available for delegates.
> 
> Registration for this major international exhibition is free. For details
> and to register go to:
> http://www.viewplus.com/sightvillage-registration/
> 
> [Sponsored Notice ends].
> 
> 
> ++Special Notice: Support Our Katie!
> 
> On Friday 26 May E-Government Bulletin's Marketing Assistant Katie 
> Wilkinson  is embarking on a charity walk from Brighton to London to 
> raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. The walk is approximately 
> 50 miles and will take two days to complete while wearing hideous 
> yellow jumpers and waving around buckets to collect donations along 
> the way!
> 
> To help make the sore feet bearable, and support this fantastic charity 
> please sponsor them and visit:
> http://www.justgiving.com/brightontolondonwalk .
> 
> [Special Notice ends].
> 
> Section Three: Focus
> - Web Accessibility
> 
> +11: Conducting Effective User Testing 
> by Stefan Haselwimmer
>  
> Following the publication of British Standards Institution's (BSI) 
> 'Publicly available specification' PAS 78 
> ( http://www.bsi-global.com/ICT/PAS78/index.xalter )
> accessibility guidelines earlier this year, web site accessibility is now 
> as much about disabled-user testing as Web Accessibility Initiative 
> (WAI -
> http://www.w3.org/WAI/ ) 
> compliance. 
> 
> A web site can pass all WAI accessibility checkpoints but still be 
> unusable by disabled people, so disabled-user testing is necessary to 
> ensure web sites are genuinely accessible. By testing your web site 
> with a range of disabled users you can also get a powerful sense of 
> how technical accessibility issues affect people with different 
> disabilities.
> 
> The PAS 78 'Guide to good practice in commissioning accessible web 
> sites' outlines the benefits of disabled-user testing and provides useful 
> guidance on how to conduct web site usability testing with disabled 
> people. But significant work is still required to carry out the testing 
> itself, in terms of recruiting disabled users, administering tests and 
> compiling final results. Web site usability testing with a range of 
> disabled users is therefore rarely carried out by most organisations - it 
> is either too time-consuming to carry out in-house or there is 
> insufficient budget to pay an external consultancy to carry out the 
> work.
> 
> We launched the Usability Exchange 
> (http://www.usabilityexchange.com )
> in March of this year to overcome many of the problems faced by 
> organisations wishing to conduct disabled-user testing. The Usability 
> Exchange provides a database of both experienced and inexperienced 
> disabled people, as well as an entire usability-testing platform for 
> administering usability tests and collecting results. The time and 
> expense associated with carrying out usability tests is considerably 
> reduced, making it cost-effective for organisations to conduct regular 
> usability testing for the first time. 
> 
> Within the Usability Exchange disabled testers carry out tests remotely 
> using their own computer equipment, at a time when they are most 
> comfortable - organisations therefore receive high-quality feedback in 
> a matter of days rather than weeks. Organisations can also 
> communicate directly with disabled testers to resolve accessibility or 
> usability problems, or to organise on-site usability tests. If necessary, 
> organisations can also watch testers attempt web site tasks through the 
> use of remote viewing software.
> 
> A number of different usability tests can be created within the 
> Usability Exchange depending on the experience of the organisation 
> concerned. For organisations that have never conducted usability tests 
> before, the Usability Exchange's 'Starter' test provides a basic 
> indication of the usability of a web site for a range of disabled users. 
> Large organisations with their own in-house accessibility or usability 
> experts can create 'Advanced' tests with a variable number of tasks, 
> questions, and testers. For public sector bodies, the Usability Exchange 
> offers a special "Public Sector Package", a cost-effective package of 
> products and services for organisations who require regular, high-
> quality disabled-user testing. 
> 
> The Usability Exchange can also help with the process of consulting 
> disabled people - a key recommendation of PAS 78 is that 
> organisations should consult disabled people at the beginning of the 
> web development lifecycle. The Disability Equality Duty also requires 
> public bodies to involve disabled users when developing online 
> services. Through the Usability Exchange, organisations can submit 
> questionnaires to a large number of disabled people or invite local 
> disabled users to focus groups. 
> 
> Prices for Usability Exchange tests start at 299 pounds. Web design 
> companies or accessibility consultancies intending to submit a large 
> number of tests through the Usability Exchange can sign up as 
> "Premium Partners" to receive significant discounts on all submitted 
> tests. Premium partners are also included in the Usability Exchange's 
> "Premium Partner Network", a database of organisations offering 
> accessibility and usability-related services to customers who may 
> require them. 
> 
> By using our existing database of disabled testers, we plan to provide 
> manual WAI-compliance checking in the near future, our ultimate goal 
> is to provide a one-stop shop for all organisations requiring 
> accessibility and usability services. Towards the end of 2006, we also 
> hope to launch the Usability Exchange in the US and in selected 
> European countries. 
> 
> NOTE: Stefan Haselwimmer is Managing Director of the Usability 
> Exchange.
> 
> [Section Three ends]
> 
> 
> ++Section Four: Focus 
> - Open Source Software
> 
> +12: Opening Minds 
> by Marco Fioretti
> Accessibility is an increasingly important issue for free and open 
> source software (FOSS) developers and advocates. The International 
> Organization for Standardisation (ISO) has developed standards for 
> ensuring that software is accessible to people with disabilities. 
> Governments around the world often require that software procured for 
> public use must meet accessibility standards. 
> Disabled users and the FOSS community, however, still have a serious 
> communication problem. The need for better communication between 
> the FOSS community and disability advocates emerged last year, when 
> government officials in Massachusetts announced their intention to use 
> OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications or 
> 'OpenDocument' (for more on this, see E-Access Bulletin, January 
> 2006, issue 73). This is a well-documented, rich file format that can be 
> used with any software program. Currently, OpenDocument is 
> undergoing an accessibility review process and some of its components 
> have already passed World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web 
> Accessibility Initiative (WAI) requirements.
> FOSS supporters celebrated the announcement, noting the switch 
> would reduce public expenditure, guarantee perpetual access to data, 
> and end discrimination. But they were unprepared for criticism from 
> disability organisations, such as the Texas-based Disability Policy 
> Consortium (DPC) and the Bay State Council for the Blind (BSCB) in 
> Massachusetts.
> To address this imbalance, FOSS and industry representatives met last 
> November with Massachusetts officials and representatives from 
> disability rights groups. The meeting revealed that the FOSS 
> community fails to understand or appreciate the needs of disabled 
> users, and that the disability community lacks interest in FOSS.
> At the meeting, FOSS advocates explained the relationship between 
> the Open Document Format, open standards, and accessibility 
> standards and outlined the technical limitations of proprietary software 
> such as Microsoft's products. They maintained accessibility in 
> Microsoft Office has often been the result of reverse engineering, 
> which must be done with each new release using tools from third-party 
> vendors. They also pointed out the adoption of a FOSS-based 
> accessibility infrastructure would open more jobs to disabled users, in 
> positions such as Unix systems administration and web site design.
> But it didn't matter. Disability advocates confirmed the position 
> expressed in a Joint Statement on OpenSource and OpenDocuments as 
> follows: without advanced training to develop a qualified pool of 
> talent, new employees at state government agencies with OpenSource, 
> OpenDocument (ODF) platforms will be used by everybody but people 
> with disabilities because of perceived or real training requirements. 
> The disabled users at the meeting summarized their position: "Variety 
> is bad, we don't want to have to change." Even if Office 12 (the 
> updated version of Microsoft Office due for release later this year) will 
> force them to change anyway, the disabled representatives request that, 
> as a minimum, "all ODF applications have common functionality and 
> [...] the same keyboard shortcuts".
> FOSS developers strive to meet accessibility standards. The web site 
> OpenOffice.org is compatible with the JAWS screen reader, though 
> problems remain. Also, the Free Standards Group's Accessibility 
> Workgroup (FSGA) has asked for feedback on drafts of accessibility 
> standards for Linux and Unix.
> Computer science student Fabrizio Marini feels the situation is far 
> from optimal. To install Linux, the only solution for him is to find 
> somebody without impaired vision who is willing to do it for him. 
> "Most Linux documentation is still too technical and difficult for 
> newbies," Marini said. For blind users, there is the added burden of 
> dealing with resources that aren't accessible, including, ironically, 
> some online documentation for Linux-compatible assistive 
> technologies. Marini has also been relying on the GNU and Linux Free 
> Information Technology guide ("Appunti di Informatica Libera") that 
> is an astonishing 8,839 pages long. Marini is testing speech synthesis 
> and screen reader programs for Linux.
> 
> Many projects seem to start with ambitious goals and then stop more or 
> less half way before being really usable. In my opinion, developers 
> need to focus on less products. 
> Both in Europe and the US, there is still much to do to reconcile 
> disabled users and the FOSS community. Disabled users fail to 
> perceive that they have the same needs and rights as everybody else, 
> including full control of, and long term access to, government and their 
> own private documents; or the fact that some types of software can 
> create local jobs for them. 
> In the meantime, the most urgent task is to improve documentation. 
> Local Linux User Groups could organize ways to connect volunteers to 
> assist disabled users with installations. FOSS advocates should contact 
> local disability rights groups to let them know what they're doing. They 
> may also be able to provide more feedback about needs in your 
> community. 
> We need to lobby for more public funding for research projects that 
> advance the development of the FOSS accessibility infrastructure. We 
> also need to move towards mandating that only accessibility software 
> working with OpenOffice.org and Linux can be purchased with public 
> money. If you have other suggestions, I welcome them. 
> There is no doubt that current FOSS-only platforms are not ready for 
> many disabled users. Disabled users may be helping the FOSS 
> community, or at least a large part of it, to finally acknowledge a 
> general attitude problem. 
> NOTE: This article was originally published in the publication 
> Newsforge:
> (http://software.newsforge.com/software/06/03/13/1628249.shtml?tid=
> 150 )
> Marco Fioretti is an OpenDocument Fellowship Committee Member
> ( http://opendocumentfellowship.org/Profiles/MarcoFioretti )
> 
> [Section Four ends].
> 
> 
> ++Special Notice: Web Accessibility Forum.
> 
> Accessify Forum is a discussion forum devoted to all topics relating to 
> web accessibility. Topics cover everything from 'Beginners' and 'Site 
> building and testing' through to projects such as the new accessibility 
> testing tool WaiZilla and the accessibility of the open source forum 
> software itself.
> 
> All you need to register is a working email address, so come along and 
> join in the fun at:
> http://www.accessifyforum.com .
> 
> [Special notice ends].
> 
> 
> ++End Notes.
> 
> +How to Receive the Bulletin.
> 
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> 
> Please send comments on coverage or leads to Dan Jellinek at:
> dan at headstar.com .
> 
> Copyright 2006 Headstar Ltd http://www.headstar.com .
> The Bulletin may be reproduced as long as all parts including this 
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> encouraged to subscribe with us individually by email. Please also 
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> 
> +Personnel:
> Editor - Dan Jellinek
> Deputy editor - Derek Parkinson
> Senior reporter - Mel Poluck
> Technical advisor - Nick Apostolidis
> Editorial advisor - Kevin Carey.
> 
> ISSN 1476-6337 .
> 
> [Issue ends.]
> 
> 
> 
> 




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