Re: Why isn't Open Office on Windows Accessible?

  • From: Alex Midence <alex.midence@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 08:47:03 -0500


I tried getting my hands on lotus symphony once.  it's a very involved
process.  You have to create an account and your username and password
have to be made just so and your download has to be requested just so
and ...   Look, I know it's fre but, sheesh!   I wound up giving up on
the whole thing and just never downloaded it.  I've actually heard
that lotus symphony works with Jaws though.  I didn't mention it to
the folks I talked to yesterday because I found it such an unmitigated
pain in the back side to just get my hands on the darn thing.  Open
Office is a synch to download.  I brought up ubuntu, gnome and orca as
well as Firefox (which they did know about, actually), and Seamonkey.
One of them was excited to learn that Sea Monkey can be made
accessible with very little scripting work.  I love that software,
personally btw.  Free browsers didn't surprise them but that word
processors, Ides, screen readers and operating systems with accesible
build-ins sure did.  they were also pleasantly surprised to learn that
there were so many blind developers out there.  Just goes to show you,
what you think is common knowledge may not be common to as many people
as you think.

Alex M

On 8/17/10, DaShiell, Jude T.  CIV NAVAIR 1490, 1, 26
<jude.dashiell@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
> And Just think, you didn't even get to tell them about Lotus Symphony
> which has same status as OpenOffice.  The only thing I found out about
> Lotus Symphony is as near as I can tell, that will be easier to make
> accessible than OpenOffice given its performance with the Thunder Screen
> Reader as compared to OpenOffice.  More appeared to be closer to
> accessible in terms of behavior of software when navigating controls.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Alex Midence
> Sent: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 13:53
> To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: Why isn't Open Office on Windows Accessible?
> Oh, yeah, forgot to add.  The very concept of free apps via the open
> source method was completely new to them too.  Both the vp and the
> department head in the group of people I talked to were going to go
> check out the apps I mentioned as soon as they could get to a pc.  If
> enough people in their positions were made aware of their existence to
> get things moving, screen reader vendors might have to give some
> thought to creating dedicated teams to make open source software
> accessible.  Can you imagine what a good thing it could potentially be
> if FS and Gwmicro had dedicated staff who worked on accessibility of
> open source solutions?  It would mean that commercial app vendors
> would need to get on the ball if they didn't want to risk losing out
> to open source software in government contracts because it was: A.
> Free as in, no tax dollars needed to fund the purchase for as many
> employees as possible and b. Accessible from the get go so, their 508
> compliance requirement would be met without any burden at all placed
> on the organization beyond the purchase of a screen reading solution.
> Those commercial software manufacturers would have to have something
> that was A. Better than the free stuff. and B. Accessible or at least,
> potentially so such that scripts could be written by screen reader
> vendors or end users to do the minor tweaking required.  Ah well,
> probably never happen.  One can always dream though.
> Alex M
> On 8/17/10, Alex Midence <alex.midence@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> The blind developer community's ability to potentially self-voice open
>> office notwithstanding, I think Open Office is not accessible because
>> FS and GWMicro haven't decided to make it so.  From everything I have
>> read, a lot of effort has been made to make the app accessible from
>> hotkeys to UI customization to partial support for ia2accessibility.
>> If someone like Ken and the rest of you who are profficient in Java
>> and other languages can customize the app to make it accessible,
>> surely members of the staff at FS and GW Micro can as well.  They have
>> the source code available, for godsake, so it's not like they can't
>> get cooperation from the vendor or something like that.  Not enough
>> people in the blind community in general nor the
>> vocational/rehabilitation/government services community in particular
>> are aware that it even exists.  I just sat down with people from my
>> own state's department of rehabililtation services's Division for
>> Blind Services and only 1 out of about 6 or 7 of them had ever even
>> heard of it.  When they found out there was an office suite out there
>> that was free and could potentially be put on people's pc's and enable
>> them to learn word processing, spreadsheet techniques, database
>> techniques ETC., that it also offered support for exporting to daisy
>> and an extension for braille translation, they were flored.  "Where
>> can I get this?" they wanted to know.  They didn't even know about
>> NVDA.  they were floored about that too.  "really, a free screen
>> reader?  Wow!"   I seriously think that if more people in these types
>> of organizations knew about it, and the other open source apps out
>> there, that FS and Gwmicro would starthearing many more demands for
>> their product to work with them.  Sadly, not everyone can code their
>> own solution to the problem so, some effort should be made to raise
>> awareness of these issues with the people who could probably get a
>> quicker and more favorable response from the screen reader vendors
>> who, in my opinion, have the responsibility for making their product
>> work with as many apps as possible.
>> My two cents.
>> Alex
>> On 8/17/10, RicksPlace <ofbgmail@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>> Hi Ken: I don't use java but that is the same problem senario under
> any
>>> Visual Studio or Microsoft environment as well. The hooks are there
> but
>>> they
>>> take time for developers to learn and then apply to projects both in
> Web
>>> and
>>> Desktop or Mobile applications. Your solution is also the best on I
> can
>>> think of. Perhaps if developers were required to use the
> accessibility
>>> tools
>>> the tools themselves would get much faster and easier to use. My
> guess is
>>> there would be allot of grumping if they were not fast and easy to
> use so
>>> the tool developers themselves would make the accessibility hooks
> easier
>>> and
>>> faster to use for developers. They would likely use some standard
>>> defaults
>>> for the accessibility hooks based on the control being exposed at the
>>> very
>>> least.
>>> Rick USA
>>>   ----- Original Message -----
>>>   From: Ken Perry
>>>   To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>>   Sent: Monday, August 16, 2010 7:52 PM
>>>   Subject: RE: Why isn't Open Office on Windows Accessible?
>>>   This is sort of what Android is doing even if they have not went
> far
>>> enough yet.  They have an accessible event that is thrown by all
> controls
>>> excepting static and some other problems but at any rate if you use
> basic
>>> controls you get the accessible events if however you want to make a
>>> custom
>>> action you can also throw accessible events that the screen readers
> like
>>> talk back will catch and speak or the accessibility tools like kick
> back
>>> and
>>> sound back can catch and do something with.  So its part developer
>>> putting
>>> in special access and part developer using the controls that are
> already
>>> accessible.  The unfortunate problem is what you get is only part
>>> accessible
>>> in most cases.  I am not saying Android is not accessible I am saying
>>> what
>>> Android is once again proving is if you leave it up to the developer
> at
>>> all
>>> us as developers are too lazy to do it.  Take me for example if I as
> a
>>> blind
>>> coder wrote a scrabble game I would not think of special cases for
> high
>>> resolution graphic cards to have spinning tiles or something to make
> the
>>> game more interesting for a sited player.  I would be shooting for my
>>> target
>>> audience.  The reverse is even worse not only are sighted programmers
>>> used
>>> to rapid development and anything that slows them down out, but they
>>> wouldn't know what we need to have sent to make something accessible
>>> unless
>>> we point it out.  Here is an example under the Android platform.  The
>>> default media player has very accessible artist and song lists. But
> when
>>> you
>>> open them they say nothing for example When you open the media layer
> you
>>> are
>>> on a tab screen and when you arrow left and right it says artist
> albums
>>> and
>>> songs.   If you click on artist nothing happens or at least as a
> blind
>>> person hears it nothing at all happens.  If however you are sighted
> you
>>> will
>>> notice that a whole list below opens up sort of like a tree but it's
> more
>>> like an expanded list.  If you don't know what you're doing and you
> click
>>> on
>>> it again because you thought nothing happened it would close the
> list.
>>> Now
>>> a sighted coder wouldn't know this is a problem and the current
> access
>>> frame
>>> work doesn't take this into account.  What should have happened is a
> open
>>> event should have been thrown even though focus didn't change there
>>> should
>>> have been a notification.  Well it would have cost maybe 10 lines a
> code
>>> to
>>> make this work but those lines are not easy to find and if you don't
> know
>>> it
>>> needs to be there well you're not going to go looking in the
>>> class
>>> and the class to figure out how it works
>>> because
>>> you don't know you need to.
>>>   So how do we fix this?  My answer is better thought out tool kits.
> Once
>>> the developers can just use and it will be accessible.  If they make
>>> accustom control then don't do something for accessibility it will
> error.
>>> Will this ever happen.  My answer is no but shrug I hope I am wrong.
>>>   Ken
>>>   From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> [mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Jay
> Macarty
>>>   Sent: Monday, August 16, 2010 1:29 AM
>>>   To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>>   Subject: Re: Why isn't Open Office on Windows Accessible?
>>>   One of the ideas I have been toying with for the java screen reader
>>> (either we4java or jac) is providing a set of runtime annotations
> which
>>> could be used to enhance an application's accessibility by allowing
> the
>>> app
>>> developer to put in self voicing annotations. There are differing
> schools
>>> of
>>> thought on self voicing. Some say it is good because the developer
> knows
>>> the
>>> app best and where self voicing would be helpful. On the other hand,
>>> putting
>>> in self voicing without providing the user a way of controling it or
>>> turning
>>> off certain levels of it, takes away from the user's control over the
>>> accessibility feedback. If we put self voicing annotations into the
> java
>>> screen reader, a developer could add them in if desired but the base
>>> screen
>>> reader code base would still have control and could provide a common
>>> mechanism for allowing the user to adjust the self voicing feedback.
>>>     ----- Original Message -----
>>>     From: Ken Perry
>>>     To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>>     Sent: Friday, August 13, 2010 5:20 PM
>>>     Subject: RE: Why isn't Open Office on Windows Accessible?
>>>     I agree with Chris H.'s answer but I want to point out it's our
> fault
>>> it's not already accessible.  I wrote a simple talking java screen
> reader
>>> that did very little but it made it so I could use  Open Office.
> Crappily
>>> but the buttons talked and all and I did this in like 200 lines of
> code.
>>> I
>>> know that code got passed around and I have since lost my copy but it
>>> can
>>> be done by replacing the access bridge with self voicing code.  It
> just
>>> takes someone actually doing it.
>>>     I am interested to see where Open Office goes now that it is
> Oricals.
>>> I
>>> am worried about all Java stuff now that Orical is trying to Sew
> Google
>>> into
>>> stopping Android.  It's a crazy world.
>>>     Ken
>>>     From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> [mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Kerneels
> Roos
>>>     Sent: Friday, August 13, 2010 3:30 AM
>>>     To: programmingblind
>>>     Subject: Why isn't Open Office on Windows Accessible?
>>>     Hi List,
>>>     Sorry if this question has been raised before and dealt with.
> Does
>>> anyone know exactly why the Windows version of Open Office is only
> partly
>>> accessible with a screen reader, while the Linux version is streets
>>> ahead?
>>> Because Open Office is written in Java I assume the code base is 98%
>>> identical across platforms. Is the problem mainly with the JAB (Java
>>> Access
>>> Bridge) or with the screen readers themselves? Could the JAB not be
> open
>>> sourced so it can be updated to bridge Java, MSAA, UIA and any other
>>> access
>>> middle ware standard?
>>>     NVDA works the best with Open Office, so I would assume it makes
> the
>>> best use of the JAB. Is there other Java to access technology middle
> ware
>>> in
>>> common use today?
>>>     I can remember a really long thread that in part had some info on
>>> Java
>>> accessibility, but I just can't justify going through all that to
>>> possibly
>>> find out more.
>>>     Keep well
>>>     --
>>>     Kerneels Roos
>>>     Cell/SMS: +27 (0)82 309 1998
>>>     Skype: cornelis.roos
>>>     The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the
>>> cheese!
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