The following are potential goals for the Ubuntu Accessibility team. We should discuss which of these to aim for at the AT meeting. Please add your ideas to the comment area at the bottom of this page.

Items which need someone to work which are not long term goals should be listed on the ToDo page.

AT components

Screen reader technology

Screen readers are available for both the Gnome and KDE environment using several speech sythesis units. Stabilisation work is needed however to ensure that this works properly out of the box with the sound driver platform we will ship (ESD vs. ALSA) and that it will work with specialist audio hardware.

Braille reader support

Braille devices need special drivers to function properly. We must chart which drivers are available for these devices on on Linux and which need some adjustments to work properly.

High visibility theme

There are some high contrast themes already for Gnome and KDE, but we can do better. We could modify some existing icon themes to improve visibility. Can we we set up a theme or pre-set-up user with large fonts by default? (see pre-set user profiles)

High visibility style sheets for local use

Do web browsers like Firefox and Konqueror support the use of local style sheets to make general web pages easier to read? (I know you can set certain defaults, but some well-prepared AT themes that we could ship with Ubuntu would be good.) The settings can include larger fonts and custom colours.

Desktop integration

Certain accessibility features such as the keyboard enhancement functions could be enhanced by some simple integration with the standard desktop. This would include icons and applets on the toolbar for enabling, deactivation and monitoring of features (monitoring generally exists).

Environmental controls

A system of environmental control units called X-10 is widely available on the consumer market. These devices can be used to remotely control lights or other appliances, which is very beneficial to mobility impaired persons. With a PC control unit these devices can also be manipulated directly from a PC. Some software for this use is available for Linux which we should test and integrate with the overall system.

Installation, booting and logging in

Accessible installation procedure

Ubuntu Desktop CD seems to be the main path for installation of future releases, so we should also focus on this. The Unity spec does have accessibility listed as a goal. We should follow Unity development and do early testing to help the project developers build in accessibility as early as possible.

Live derivative CD

Do we want to prepare a custom accessible Live CD. Discuss with those responsible for seed management what would be required to create a version that started with AT features switched on by default, but was otherwise based purely on Ubuntu base packages (a few extra installed by default and the user-profile altered).

Accessible login

The Gnome Display Manager (GDM) is the login screen that greets users when first starting the computer, prompting for user name and password. GDM already supports accessibility features which can be activated with keystrokes, mouse gestures, etc. Are these features available in Ubuntu? What is required to switch these on? Can we provide a simple package?

Pre-configured accessible user-settings

Is it possible to package pre-configured user setting with high levels of accessibility? If you tweak the font, theme colour settings, etc. It is possible to create a highly accessible user interface. Can a few such profiles be pre-configured and installed easily? We do have Meta packages for each desktop environment, i.e. kubuntu, ubuntu, xubuntu, lubuntu. It should be possible to add such packages specifically for accessibility profiles.

'Add Applications' listings

The 'Add Applications' install system already has an accessibility section (btw: do accessibility features have to be 'enabled' for this to be visible? That would seriously reduce discoverability.) We should check that the AT features that are actually available are listed in this utility.

Organisation as a Team


  • Find out about the goals of other teams and initiatives
    • Debian
    • GNOME
    • KDE
    • Redhat
    • SUN
    • IBM
  • Watch out for NEW software, we might want to include
  • Base goals on "first-hand experience" testing

  • Write mini-specs for every goal/everything we want to change


  • based on our experiences, write an a11y test plan

  • get people testing it
    • get livecds out and tested,
    • by people who are in need of such software
  • get a mailing list
    • discuss everything there,
    • move bugs on that list as well
  • get more uploaders
  • form KDE / GNOME divisions
    • do comparisons
    • work with Upstream

Other topics

End-user testing

How can we involve end users with relevant experience in the early phases of testing? Can we send out Live CDs to people?

Accessibility documentation

The accessibility features should be well documented so that they are easy to find and configure.

Website accessibility

Some work is being done by Vika and Henrik to make the websites more accessible. They are fairly standards conforming already, but we will add high visibility themes.

Broader community relations

We should make a concious effort to link up with other AT efforts such as Debian-Accessibility, Oralux and LARS


Add comments about the Accessibility Team Goals page here:


  • I believe we also need to talk about accessibility on the console. As much as the GNOME accessibility is getting along, it is certainly not usable for blind/vision impaired people completely. Even now I spend most of my time on the console, and use GNOME with a large monitor, with little to no extra accessibility enabled.


  • Luke, I'm working on a new high-visibility wiki theme and I would be interested to hear how you get on with it (I generally use it myself as well now because I find it more comfortable). To test it, log in to http://wiki.theopencd.org/ and select the 'hiviz' theme from UserPreferences. After a few more tweaks, I'll install it here on this wiki.

Accessibility/Team/Goals (last edited 2010-11-06 16:58:27 by 71-209-63-103)