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 * Community discussion started [ here].


Clarify the assistive technology settings in gnome. Identify where each options belongs, whether it is a general desktop setting with accessibility implications (such as font size) or a specialised assistive technology feature. Restructure the items to make navigating the options intuitive for groups with different perspectives.


The assistive technology (AT) settings in gnome are currently spread out over several locations, making the features difficult to find. Some entries have multiple incarnations (like keyboard repeat rate). It is difficult to have a discussion about which features should be moved before we have a better classification of items (specifically to which degree they are general desktop setting or special assistive technology tools).

Use cases

  • Gustav has slightly reduced vision so he likes to increase the font size on his system and select a suitable icon set. It would not occur to him to look for these items under 'Assistive Technology', but expects to find it with the fonts and theme settings.
  • Joanna has less vision than Gustav and uses a high contrast theme with large fonts and occasionally a magnifier. She knows she needs these features to use the computer. When a friends shows here Ubuntu she asks him to open the accessibility settings to look for them. They are pleased to finds all these features available in one place.


Identify the rough edges in accessibility configuration and reach a consensus with the wider community (upstream) on how it should be refactored. Introduce limited modifications to the gnome dialogs and add two tabs to the gnome-at-prefs, one for the AT tools and one with links to related options. The individual AT tools will continue to have their separate configuration dialogs, linked to from the AT preferences (as is currently done with Orca and onBoard in Ubuntu).


  • [:Accessibility/Projects/GnomeATconf:Chart] the existing accessibility settings (and related settings).

  • Divide the setting into better categories, taking special note of which can be considered general desktop settings and which are pure a11y items.
  • Move and restructure settings (this will be minor)
  • Add a 'more options' tab to the Assistive Technology Preferences dialog with links to launch the existing related items such as keyboard settings and themes.
  • Optional future work: Write a wizard which guides the user through the available accessibility settings.

attachment:at-prefs-tab1.png BRBR attachment:at-prefs-tab2.png BRBR attachment:at-prefs-tab3.png

Caption: Proposed Assistive Technology Preferences layout, expanded to 3 tabs to allow for a more flexible configuration of AT tools and links to related settings. (content in dashed lines represents future work pending upstream development). The Basic tab is used to switch on AT-SPI and similar system-wide settings. The Utilities tab lets you launch and configure Assistive technologies like Orca, GOK, onBoard, LSR. Installable items like Dasher could also be added. The Other Settings tab contains a collation of links to other Gnome system settings that people with disabilities might find useful but which also has other uses.


Outstanding issues

Upstream is discussing implementing a configuration option for the ATs to be started by default (see [ bug 350263]) and improving the theme dialog to reduce the number of (rather similar) a11y themes. Upstream choices should be tracked here.


Accessibility/Specs/CommonATConfig (last edited 2008-08-06 16:39:48 by localhost)