[bct] software development

  • From: "jean parker" <disabilityradio@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 13 May 2006 14:06:21 +0530

Hi guys:

Here is something to add to the mix on software development. Anyone know these people:

Thanks to Atul Pant for forwarding this article...

Website Offers OATS to People with Disabilities

A consortium headed by internationally renowned charity, The ACE Centre,
this week launches a website that will be a world's first in meeting the
technology needs of the disabled. OATS (Open Source Assistive Technology
Software) will be the first free online 'one stop shop' of open source
software that  enables those with disabilities to access computers. It also
provides a forum  for developers to interact with users and in some cases,
customise software for the very unique and personal needs of disabled users.

The OATS (
project will be a focal
point for developers to provide solutions for people with disabilities, as
demonstrated by an OATS community member recently. Steve Lee, a volunteer
programmer, responded to an appeal by a FORD employee who was unable to
speak but needed to prepare a PowerPoint presentation. Steve created
PowerTalk, a program that speaks and displays PowerPoint presentations at
the push of a button.

This software is freely available on the OATS website and as well as meeting
the needs of the Ford employee, has found additional uses within the
classroom and for those with visual impairments.

Andrew Lysley, ACE Centre Deputy Director and OATS coordinator said today
"The example of PowerTalk typifies the enormous impact OATS can have in
meeting the needs of disabled users of technology worldwide"

Contact Details
Andrew Lysley - Deputy Director, The ACE Centre Advisory Trust Tel. 01865
759802 - Mobile. 07789 538631
Simon Judge- Clinical Scientist Access to
Communication and Technology
(ACT) 0121 627 8235


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----- Original Message ----- From: "Sean Randall" <sean@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, May 13, 2006 1:49 PM
Subject: [bct] Re: Window classing? was Re: Re: Should we do a chat on improving software accessibility?


If you're happy with the way things work on your system it's not something you really need to worry about.

But if there are some programs you use which don't seem to read properly, then this may be a solution outside of bulky scripts or set files.

Sean R. ... Lots of people act well, but few people talk well. This shows that talking is the more difficult of the two. - Oscar Wilde ... Email: sean@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

web: http://www.randyLaptop.com

----- Original Message ----- From: "Tiffany Black" <tifflblack@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, May 13, 2006 12:35 AM
Subject: [bct] Re: Window classing? was Re: Re: Should we do a chat on improving software accessibility?

Ok. I think I sort of get it. Thanks.

-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Sean Randall
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2006 3:43 PM
To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bct] Window classing? was Re: Re: Should we do a chat on improving
software accessibility?

Hi Tiffany ,

As far as I know, Window classing is this:
In JAWS, each window is a class: edit boxes, buttons, whatever.
Many apps use common window classes provided within windows, but some don't.
So to reclass a window merely means telling JAWS what type of a window it
If FlashFXP uses odd listboxes that don't read properly, they can then be
reclassed as standard "listbox" windows, so that JAWS may read them

I hope that summarises - anyone know if other screen readers have something

Sean R.
There is no love sincerer than the love of food. - George Bernard Shaw ...
Email: sean@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

web: http://www.randyLaptop.com

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tiffany Black" <tifflblack@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2006 11:25 PM
Subject: [bct] Re: Should we do a chat on improving software accessibility?

Silly question, but what does reclassing windows mean?

-----Original Message----- From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Robert Riddle Sent: Friday, May 12, 2006 3:13 AM To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Subject: [bct] Re: Should we do a chat on improving software accessibility?

Most software is quite accessible. But what's accessible to one person
for another. For example, there's a program called flashfxp that, upon
installation, doesn't look all that accessible. HOwever, all it needs is a
couple of window reclassifications and it works like a charm. In short,
program inaccessibility (nice eight dollar word there eh?) can be boiled
down to lazy users or just plain old user error. So before we whine about
inacccessiblity to companies, see if you can reclass windows or controls
the program and determine if that helps the problem.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Krister Ekstrom" <krister@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2006 1:50 AM
Subject: [bct] Re: Should we do a chat on improving software

Hash: RIPEMD160

Hi listers,
I know that what i say now is politically incorrect, and i will
probably get flamed to ashes for saying this, but i'll say it anyway.
Sure we could do a chat on how to communicate with companies and so
forth, but i think it won't change the situation a bit. Why? Because
we're actually a small fraction of the market and as the majority
rules, we won't get listened to. We may get heard, but we won't get
listened to. We can bash the companies all we want, and they'll
probably say: "So you're 20000? Well we have 8 gazillion people around
the globe who use and love our software, and if you don't or can't, well
tough luck".
I'm not saying i like the situation, only that it is like that.
Only my 2 cents.

Tiffany Black wrote:
I think your chat's a good idea.

-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Debee
Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2006 10:27 PM
To: Blindcooltech@Freelists. Org
Subject: [bct] Should we do a chat on improving software accessibility?

Short version: a Saturday evening chat on strategies for
communicating with developers about how to make their software more
accessible. Does this interest people? Should I lead it?

Long version:  I am in desperate need of a DVD-Writer. My husband has
one if I get super desperate, but I need one at work, where I scan
books for a living so need a way to archive them, no fuss, no muss.
I'm sick and tired of CDS and the Windows XP CD writing wizard.

So yeah, you're saying, shop for a DVD-Writer; do a little research,
buy one, get boss to reimburse you, problem solved.

Ok, so I shopped. I shopped in the store, I shopped online. There are
a ton of DVD-Writers out there.

Every single one comes bundled with some DVD-writing software. Some
got Nero 6, some got Nero 7, some got Nero Express, some got Nero
something else.
Some got a software suite from NTI. Some got a Roxio product. There
about twenty different versions of Roxio burning thingies. Many come
with software I've never heard of.

And by the way, when my husband, a sighted electrical engineer and
experienced computer user, installed a scaled-down Nero that came
with his writer, it dragged in a lot of junk like the Yahoo toolbar,
which he didn't want and had trouble removing. His Nero also
clobbered Safe Mode, a known bug he read about online, and it took
him hours to get his system back to the way it was before. I love
bundled software!!!

So, already I've used about six different CD-burning programs and my
favorite one is the Linux command line tool. Rick did a great job
with Nero, but who knows if the Nero that comes with the DVD-Writer I
buy is even close to the Nero that he reviewed. The "express" and
"limited" versions of a product often have a completely different

So, OK, I figure I'll just download some shareware and pick an
accessible burner that will probably work with the hardware I plan to
buy. Yesterday I downloaded and tried three programs, "Swift Burning
Wizard" "Deep Burner"
and "Zip backup to CD". All were reviewed as having a very bare-bones
interface, using few system resources and being particularly good for
archiving files.

All of them wanted to "create projects" "create a data CD" "build a
CD Image" and were set up for you to drag and drop icons hither and
They could create auto-run scripts and playlists and for all I know
kitchen sinks. Why does software have all this extra and unnecessary
want to just select my files, and click a write to CD button. I don't
want to create projects and mess around with a ton of dialog boxes.
I want the program to be smart enough to cope when my data fills more
than one CD.
why can't a program just tell you that it will need 4 CDS and start

All three of these supposedly simple programs weren't simple, and
more important, were not very accessible. With a lot of poking
around, I could burn a CD, but to do it on a daily basis, in a busy
work environment where I am constantly interrupted, forget it!

Then I listened to Tony's cast about the inaccessibility of Spyware
-- I have a rebuttal for that, but that's a different story -- and I
felt very frustrated. The reality is that software is a lot less
accessible than it used to be.

So to fight back, we need to find ways to communicate with developers
in language they understand about the problem. It isn't enough to
say, "Dear Mr. Programmer: your software doesn't work with JAWS". We
need to tell them exactly what doesn't work, why and how to fix it.

I propose that since I like to write, and know how to program, sort
of anyway,  that I write a draft letter to developers and then we do
a brainstorming chat and all attempt to improve it.

Once we have a good letter, we can easily tailor it for our
individual needs, and send it off to developers when we try to use an
inaccessible program. I'd concentrate on shareware and low-cost
software that is sold by small companies online. For example, I'd
talk to Patrick about Spybot before I'd talk to Symantech about
Norton Anti-virus.

Your thoughts, please. Should we do a chat on this? Should I craft up
a draft?


* The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has

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