Re: [g-a-devel] GNOME Launches Campaign for Accessibility


As you say, it would be better to make stronger release team a11y
requirements. I think it would be easier to define such requirements
once accessibility is working reasonably in GNOME 3. We have made a
lot of progress already, so hopefully this will not be so far in the

cdh: How can we say that a11y is working "reasonably" if we haven't a
set of requirements that define what is "reasonable" first?

The mission of the GNOME Foundation is to provide free desktop software
to all users.  This is a bootstrapping process, though, and takes time.

When I first started working on GNOME a11y, we had no users.  Although
we intended for GNOME 2.0 to be accessible, GNOME was not usably
accessible until about GNOME 2.16.  It took us a long time to develop
a community of users who use GNOME today to meet their accessibility

It was very frustrating in the early days of GNOME a11y, not having any
users to let us know what we were doing right and what did not work
properly.  So, I measure a certain amount of success just in the fact
that we are providing software that is meeting people's needs and we
are now hearing from users what they think needs to be improved.

The GNOME community has an award winning track record of supporting
accessibility in a free software environment. There are plenty of
consulting firms that regularly work on GNOME that would likely be
delighted to provide support that is needed. We have a community of
users who do find GNOME a usable and accessible, if not perfect,
experience. What more is needed?

cdh: Spend a day with a JAWS power user and then spend one with an Orca
user. The latter can do a lot of really good stuff but the former can do
so much more and do so more efficiently.

To better understand our audience, we probably should first clearly
understand who uses GNOME.  FOSS desktops have a very small percentage
of the overall desktop market share.  People tend to choose proprietary
desktops or tablets for use at home, and I do not think it is
accessibility features which drives this decision.  I would guess that
many people choose proprietary desktops and tablets simply because they
provide better access to non-free DRM media content.

GNOME tends to be more popular in environments outside of the home.
One common usage of GNOME is in thin client kiosk, or "call center"
environments where the desktop tools used are few in number, and often
the GUI's used are written by the user or just use a full-screen web
browser for all interaction.  The fact that some areas of GNOME a11y
do not work well may be caused because the paying customers of distros
who use a11y do not need or use those programs (or programs that use
particular widgets like the calendar widget).

Is the existing JAWS power user the best type of user to focus the most attention on? Should we be focusing more attention on our actual
typical users?  Our typical users may not actually be well represented
by people on this mailing list, after all.

What specific showstopper bugs are we talking about? There are only 3
blocker bugs with keyword "accessibility" currently.[1] I notice there
are only 21 critical bugs.[2] That does not seem so insurmountable.

cdh: What are the dates these bugs were reported as critical or blocker?
How long have they sat unattended?

Good questions.


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