Re: Proposed: Dasher

On Sun, Jan 04, 2004 at 05:45:47PM +1100, Jeff Waugh wrote:

> While Dasher has been lauded as an innovative, interesting, accessible and,
> well, game-like approach to text entry, I'm not sure it has the same kind of
> applicability to the Desktop release as the other a11y modules. Even though
> the current a11y modules are not needed by a great majority of our userbase,
> they provide a very real expression of 'universal access' (which is good
> from a cynical point of view, too), and are the really basic infrastructure
> required for deep a11y support across the desktop. I think Dasher is a bit
> different, almost in a class of its own, and is not as central to our a11y
> requirements as the other modules. At one stage it was not maintained in
> GNOME CVS, although I believe this has been rectified (or will be soon).

Arguably, Dasher is aimed at a different set of users to the a11y tools
we already have. Its users certainly aren't likely to be using
gnopernicus, but at the same time they're not a set that perfectly
intersects with the GOK users. About half of the feedback we've received 
is from users with RSI or similar restrictions in mobility that don't 
make using a keyboard impossible, but do make it awkward. Helping them 
is less of an issue than helping the more severely disabled users that 
we cater for quite well already, but I think it's an audience that 
should be catered for.

I guess the basic philosophical issue is this: should the desktop 
release try to allow as many users across as wide a range of physical 
abilities as possible to use the desktop as well as possible, or should 
that be left to a hypothetical accessibility tools release?

(More cynically, it provides a good counterargument to accusations that
Free Software Doesn't Innovate(tm) :) )
Matthew Garrett | mjg59 srcf ucam org

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