Re: An Open Letter to Oracle on the Topic Of Accessibility

One of the problems I see as both an advocate and a developer is that making things accessible is not as easy as it should be at least in linux. You have to consciously add code to make it work. I am far from being a fan of Microsoft but one thing they did right with Visual Studio was to put all the properties etc for their msaa in the sheets so they are right there. Granted not everyone actually fills them in yet but it is a lot easier than having to actually remember to do it.

The building blocks of all our code as simple as possible to use and add accessibility so it isn't a chore for developers. Let's face it the majority of designers don't even consider accessibility even when they have people who need it on the team.

Ideally we should work on making accessibility a part of the college and other training curiculums so that at least new folks come in to the software world already indoctrinated with the need for making things accessible.


On Tue, 23 Feb 2010, Willie Walker wrote:

[[[apologies if this seems like it was written one paragraph at a time
with no flow -- it was written one paragraph at a time while try to pay
attention in a meeting]]]

Education is key.  Part of why I saw so much value in going to the GNOME
Usability Hackfest was to spread the word and get accessibility
considerations as close to the design as possible.  It also needs to be
done in a positive way to make them want to take ownership of the space
versus us setting up a dependency relationship with them.

In general, I think we want to create people that say "I *know* how to
make this accessible" versus "I think accessibility is important and I'm
going to ask the accessibility guys to fix this for me."  Getting to the
latter, of course, is still a laudable achievement.  :-)

In general, we need to continue the advocacy, and I think we need
advocates as close to the source of the solution as possible.  So,
having an advocate on the release team can help give a stronger voice
that can help prevent accessibility problems from passing through

On a plus side, blockages created by advocates can help make developers
more sensitive to accessible design and testing. But...these blockages
need to be done with care.  Closed fist table bangers with big mouths
can help us once[1], but can also build up barriers that are hard to
break down.

So, instead of always banging on the table, we need to use those
situations as learning opportunities for everyone, including us.

Having said all that, it thrills me to see just about every GNOME
developer and designer have some level of exposure to accessibility.


[1] - I'm not saying we are closed fist table bangers.  I'm just saying
we need to take care in creating a perception that we are.

On Tue, 2010-02-23 at 08:32 -0600, Bryen M Yunashko wrote:
On Tue, 2010-02-23 at 09:24 -0500, Willie Walker wrote:
I encourage you to get more involved - it is the best way to make a

+1 :-)  We need a strong advocate on the release team.


So how do we do this?  Not just to ensure strong a11y advocacy on the
release team, but in other areas of GNOME.  People may feel they don't
want to participate on a particular team (release team?) because they
don't have the technical qualifications and/or simply don't want to sign
on to yet another mailing list when their mailboxes are already
overloaded.  (I've got over 12,000 unread messages in my 'mailing list'

Do we educate those in the a11y community to be more technically
proficient to participate in these teams?  Do we educate the teams to
look to the a11y team more?  How do we find middle ground?

We definitely need to do more to publicize our own actions and issues to
a broader community and that's something I'm looking at seriously these
days as I gear up for the upcoming CSUN conference and think about ways
that will sustain news delivery from our team long after CSUN.  To make
it a more integral part of our daily activities.

I don't think we have an answer just yet for an overnight solution, but
the answer definitely must include, as Willie says, more advocacy and
awareness of A11y across the board.  "Baked in, not bolted on" Willie
also says and I absolutely love that concept.

Bryen Yunashko

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