Re: Reorganising accessibility features in gnome (suggestion)

Peter Korn wrote:

Hi guys,

I rather like David's idea.

Yes; also I think the notion of "user profiles" makes sense. We could have various accessibility-scenario-related sets of gconf setting grouped together in user profiles, and this generic mechanism could help with usability for users across the board - similar to the notion of connection profiles ("Home dialup", "laptop", "slide_presentation", etc. etc.).

One issue we've found (Microsoft has done studies on this) is that many folks with more minor impairments don't think of themselves as "impaired", and won't look for an "accessibility" solution to their problem. They just want a different color scheme, or a different (e.g. larger) font size. But that's not "accessibility" to them.

Yes; especially for things like themes and font sizes, we want to avoid putting features of general utility in an "accessibility" section (only). IMO many of the features you mention, Henrik, are of broader interest. We did give a lot of consideration to where these features live in the existing menu structure, and considered putting them together, but for the reasons given above (as well as other reasons), we did not.


So while I think it would be very useful to have a central place to go to do all of these configurations, many of them also belong more or less where they are.


Peter Korn
Sun Accessibility team

David Bolter wrote:

Possibly orthogonal...

Maybe we need a wizard?

(Also, just a note that as decades pass there seems to be a movement/evolution of "assistive technology" features into mainstream use. I think we should encourage this wherever possible. It would be a shame to see a user leaning forward squinting because they haven't discovered an available preference. Anyway we can assist feature/tool 'discovery' would be great.)


Henrik Nilsen Omma wrote:


I have a comment about the way the Assistive Technology features are organised and presented in gnome (and a suggestion for improvement). This touches on a bit more than just the AT features themselves, so I should probably send this to some general gnome devel list as well (desktop-devel?).

The way accessibility features are managed in Gnome is a bit spread around ATM. In Ubuntu we are now writing some new software management tools which seem to spread things even more, at least in the short term. I think it might be time to consider unifying things a bit. Accessibility features can currently be altered in the following places (I'm using the Ubuntu menu structure names, but other Gnome systems will be similar):

1. System -> Preferences -> Assistive Technology Support

2. System -> Preferences -> Keyboard -> Accessibility ...

3. System -> Preferences -> Theme
 * For selecting high visibility themes

4. System -> Preferences -> Sound
 * For enabling visual feedback of system sounds

5. Application Install tool (+Synaptic)
* For actually installing the applications. In some cases you also need to run Synaptic or apt to install a dependency that is optional (like gnome-mag)

6. Applications -> Accessibility -> [app name]
* You may or may not need to start the application from here. In some cases it is set to start a boot (which is useful), but some do not have this option.

Possible solutions:

First, I would suggest collecting all the AT feature settings under one dialogue, the existing 'Assistive Technology Support'. This might require using tabs, as several other dialogues currently have.

Second, when an AT feature is enabled in this dialogue the user should be given the option to install the required packages directly. In Ubuntu, this currently happens with the 'Shared folders' utility, so the infrastructure is already there.

- Henrik

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