Open Week -- Accessibility is Important -- Charlie Kravetz -- Wed, Oct 13

   1 [15:01] <charlie-tca> Welcome to Ubuntu Open Week's Wednesday sessions! This has been a really exciting week, and it just keeps going.
   2 [15:01] <ClassBot> Logs for this session will be available at following the conclusion of the session.
   3 [15:02] <charlie-tca> My name is Charlie Kravetz, also known as charlie-tca on IRC and the mailing lists. I would like to welcome everyone to a great time.
   4 [15:03] <charlie-tca> I will attempt to answer your questions during my session, but please place QUESTION: in front so the question is visible.
   5 [15:03] <charlie-tca> for example:
   6 [15:03] <charlie-tca> QUESTION: what is accessibility?
   7 [15:03] <charlie-tca> These are asked in #ubuntu-classroom-chat
   8 [15:04] <charlie-tca> I will then repeat the question here, and then answer it. If your question is not shown right away, don't repeat it fast. I will either answer it later, or tell you why.
   9 [15:05] <charlie-tca> Accessibility in Ubuntu, means the ability of anyone with a disability to use it
  10 [15:05] <charlie-tca> see, I answered.
  11 [15:05] <charlie-tca> Any questions?
  12 [15:06] <charlie-tca> Great! Let's get this rolling then
  13 [15:06] <charlie-tca> The leaders of the Ubuntu Accessibility Team are Penelope Stowe (pendulum) and Luke Yelavich (TheMuso). Penelope focuses on the outreach and documentation side of the team, while Luke runs the development side.
  14 [15:06] <charlie-tca> I triage accessibility bugs, and am in the process of re-writing the Accessibility Team wiki. The wiki is located at .
  15 [15:06] <charlie-tca> Accessibility focuses on the Ubuntu desktop, because Gnome has good accessibility features. Would we like to see that expanded? Of course we would!
  16 [15:07] <charlie-tca> Want to know what accessibility means to us? If you are a non-disabled person, turn off your monitor and use your computer.
  17 [15:08] <charlie-tca> Can't do that? Missing anything? now put one hand behind your back and turn the monitor back on.
  18 [15:08] <charlie-tca> Go ahead, use your computer as you normally would!
  19 [15:08] <charlie-tca> Hmm, difficult to type now?
  20 [15:09] <ClassBot> nigelb asked: As a non-disabled person, how can I help the accessibility team?
  21 [15:11] <charlie-tca> The Accessibility Team needs your help. We need to update our team wiki at , we need to make sure accessibility features work, we need artwork that is visible for all of us.
  22 [15:11] <charlie-tca> We also need to advocate for Accessibility in all derivatives of Ubuntu, as well as applications.
  23 [15:12] <charlie-tca> I can give more references later.
  24 [15:12] <charlie-tca> The Accessibility Team has conducted a survey and created personas under the guidance of Penelope. We are now able to identify solutions and if required coordinate development to implement them. We also aim to increase awareness of the issues around accessibility with the rest of the Ubuntu project.
  25 [15:13] <charlie-tca> This session isn't a how-to guide and won't go into a huge amount of detail into any one program. I just hope to raise your awareness, if I can. I also want to get you involved, if possible.
  26 [15:13] <charlie-tca> Since Ubuntu 10.10 is the latest release, I will address software available in that Ubuntu 10.10 as well as Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.
  27 [15:14] <charlie-tca> Before I talk about specific programs, I want to talk about the Assistive Technologies menu, which can be found in System->Preferences -> Assistive Technology.
  28 [15:15] <charlie-tca> This menu is where you can select your preferred accessibility programs and enable assistive technologies.
  29 [15:16] <charlie-tca> You can use this menu to specify things such as how long to accept as a keypress, how to prevent accidental double clicking, and how quickly to respond to key presses.
  30 [15:16] <charlie-tca> This is also where I slow my own mouse double-clicks down so it knows about them.
  31 [15:17] <charlie-tca> It's also useful for turning off and on sticky keys or specifying keystrokes to stand in for things you'd normally do with a mouse.
  32 [15:18] <charlie-tca> This is also the menu you use to specify which programs you want for an alternate keyboard or as a screen reader.
  33 [15:18] <charlie-tca> Okay, before I start talking about programs, are there any questions on the Assistive Technology menu?
  34 [15:18] <charlie-tca> <genupulas> Question :i am not getting that why are you writing that one ...can you please give me a clear reason about that....please
  35 [15:19] <charlie-tca> Accessibility in Ubuntu, means the ability of anyone with a disability to use it
  36 [15:19] <charlie-tca> That is, for every person to be able to use a computer, regardless of their ability or disability.
  37 [15:20] <charlie-tca> that does help, genupulas ?
  38 [15:20] <charlie-tca> The first set of programs I'm talking about are the text-to-speech programs.
  39 [15:21] <charlie-tca> The most popular of these is the Orca, although it isn't strictly a screen reader, as it has other capabilities.
  40 [15:21] <charlie-tca> Orca includes a screen reader, magnification capabilities, and braille capabilities, so it is more than text-to-speech, however most people when you say Orca think of it as a screen reader.
  41 [15:21] <charlie-tca> Orca was developed by the Accessibility department at Sun Microsystems, however, with the aquisition of Sun by Oracle, it has moved to community-development only.
  42 [15:21] <charlie-tca> Orca can work with programs that include the at-spi toolkit including the GNOME desktop, Firefox, OpenOffice, and many others.
  43 [15:22] <charlie-tca> It can also be used with Xfce based applications.
  44 [15:22] <charlie-tca> More information about Orca can be found at .
  45 [15:23] <charlie-tca> Okay, any questions about Orca (named for the whale)?
  46 [15:23] <charlie-tca> Another text-to-speech program is eSpeak. eSpeak is command line based. It supports quite a few different languages.
  47 [15:24] <charlie-tca> There are several different versions of eSpeak including one specific to emacs.
  48 [15:24] <charlie-tca> More information can be found at .
  49 [15:24] <charlie-tca> These are the two main text-to-speech/screen reader options in the Software Center.
  50 [15:25] <charlie-tca> Are there any questions about espeak or other questions about text-to-speech in Ubuntu?
  51 [15:25] <charlie-tca> At the present time, there are no assistive technologies for people with learning/developmental difficulties specifically. Orca and some of the other programs are used by people with learning/developmental disabilities.
  52 [15:25] <charlie-tca> One thing that happens in the open source world is that other that specific hardware needs (such as integration with braile keyboards or USB switches), things are developed towards what the software needs to do, not why the person needs that software.
  53 [15:26] <charlie-tca> okay, moving on from text-to-speech, I'm going to quickly cover magnification software.
  54 [15:26] <charlie-tca> The two bits of magnification software commonly found in Ubuntu are gnome-mag and the magnification part of Orca.
  55 [15:26] <charlie-tca> These applications allow you to move the magnification screen around your desktop so as to give the total view.
  56 [15:26] <charlie-tca> For the normal sighted person, they can be cumbersome to use, but for the visually impaired, they allow us to see the entire screen.
  57 [15:27] <charlie-tca> Next I want to talk about alternate keyboards.
  58 [15:27] <charlie-tca> These are programs which can be used to replace or augment a traditional keyboard. They usually directly interface with the mouse however the mouse may be controlled.
  59 [15:27] <charlie-tca> The built-in alternate keyboard for Ubuntu is onBoard. It is basically an on-screen keyboard.
  60 [15:28] <charlie-tca> It includes everything except the function keys from a regular keyboard.
  61 [15:28] <charlie-tca> You click on the key or a sequence of keys using the mouse and it inputs directly into whatever program you're working on.
  62 [15:28] <charlie-tca> Not only useful as assistive technology, it's rather useful for people using Ubuntu on a tablet.
  63 [15:29] <charlie-tca> Unfortunately, you do need a mouse or other device to be able to use OnBoard
  64 [15:29] <charlie-tca> The other well known option for alternate keyboard capabilities is Dasher.
  65 [15:29] <charlie-tca> Dasher, rather than having a keyboard set-up, is mouse controlled by hovering the mouse over the letters on the screen.
  66 [15:29] <charlie-tca> It also has predicitve text capabilities, which can be quite useful.
  67 [15:29] <charlie-tca> If you run Dasher from the Applications menu in Ubuntu, it prints the characters in its own text editor and you can copy and paste into other programs.
  68 [15:30] <charlie-tca> From the command line you can run " dasher -a direct " which allows direct input into other programs.
  69 [15:30] <charlie-tca> There are also Windows and MacOS X versions of Dasher.
  70 [15:30] <charlie-tca> For those who have never tried an application like Dasher, I urge you to give it a chance. It is really fascinating how it builds words and sentences.
  71 [15:31] <charlie-tca> For more information (including video and a way to try without downloading) you can go to .
  72 [15:31] <charlie-tca> By all means, go to the website and try it for yourself.
  73 [15:31] <charlie-tca> Any questions about Alternate keyboards?
  74 [15:31] <charlie-tca> There are two programs in Ubuntu that help with alternate mouse controls.
  75 [15:32] <charlie-tca> These are applications that allow you to actually use the mouse without using your hands, if needed.
  76 [15:32] <charlie-tca> First, MouseTrap allows headtracking using a webcam to control your mouse.
  77 [15:33] <charlie-tca> The other application, MouseTweaks  works with the Assistive Technologies menu to give the ability to allow the mouse to "click" even if the mouse user can't actually make the motion that allows a mouse to click normally.
  78 [15:33] <charlie-tca> These are terrific programs for those who can not use the hardware mouse!
  79 [15:34] <charlie-tca> And now the topic that everyone asks about: Voice Recognition software.
  80 [15:34] <charlie-tca> The short answer is that there are hacks and there are programs that sort of work, but there aren't great results for voice recognition in Ubuntu.
  81 [15:34] <charlie-tca> The only voice recognition software in the Software Center is Julius. Julius was originally developed in Japanese and is being ported to English.
  82 [15:35] <charlie-tca> Wait! A chance to help, even if you have no disability.
  83 [15:35] <charlie-tca> Unfortunately, as it's not finished software, the documentation is lacking.
  84 [15:35] <charlie-tca> The other thing which has worked for some Ubuntu users is to run Dragon Natural Speaking under Wine.
  85 [15:36] <charlie-tca> and, yes, sometimes we do have to accept that Microsoft and Wine work for us.
  86 [15:36] <charlie-tca> Any voice recognition questions?
  87 [15:37] <ClassBot> jothejo2 asked: charlie-tca what is accessibility?
  88 [15:37] <charlie-tca> hm, you must be one of our late arrivals.
  89 [15:38] <charlie-tca> Accessibility means that anyone can use the computer. It doesn't matter if they have a physical disability, a visual disability, deafness, or any other issues.
  90 [15:38] <charlie-tca> All of us want to be able to use the computer just as everyone else can.
  91 [15:39] <charlie-tca> And, yes, I will answer that as many times as it is asked. Accessibility is very hard for the "normal" person to understand.
  92 [15:40] <charlie-tca> Now I want to talk quickly about Ubuntu derivatives which focus on accessibility (or have some relevence).
  93 [15:40] <charlie-tca> Probably the biggest of these at the moment is Vinux.
  94 [15:40] <charlie-tca> Originally started to be optimised for blind and visually impaired users, at this time, possible accessiblity additions or changes are tested in Vinux first.
  95 [15:41] <charlie-tca> For more information about Vinux, visit the website at .
  96 [15:41] <charlie-tca> Finally, we have Qimo4kids, which mhall119 developed partially as a way to create something that would be easy for kids with developmental disabilities to use.
  97 [15:42] <charlie-tca> There was a great session on Qimo4Kids yesterday. the logs are available at for anyone that missed it.
  98 [15:43] <ClassBot> sebsebseb asked: Does the accessibility team also work with upstreams such as Gnome, to make them more accessible?
  99 [15:43] <charlie-tca> Great question, sebsebseb
 100 [15:44] <charlie-tca> Yes, we do. Since Gnome has the best accessibility features of all the desktop environments, we work very closely with them.
 101 [15:44] <charlie-tca> as a matter of fact,  Gnome A11y team is also often useful: &
 102 [15:45] <ClassBot> sebsebseb asked: Gnome 3 is coming, how do you think it will effect the accessability team?
 103 [15:46] <charlie-tca> This is a difficult question to answer.
 104 [15:46] <charlie-tca> Current changes in Gnome are making accessibility more difficult to integrate well.
 105 [15:47] <charlie-tca> I am sure they are temporary drawbacks, and the accessiblity team is working with the Gnome developers to insure access for everybody.
 106 [15:49] <charlie-tca> Where to get help or information:
 107 [15:49] <charlie-tca> The accessibility wiki is
 108 [15:50] <charlie-tca> as well as (which is out of date and in process of updating)
 109 [15:50] <charlie-tca> The Accessibility section of Ubuntu Forums
 110 [15:50] <charlie-tca> #ubuntu-accessibility on IRC
 111 [15:51] <charlie-tca> The mailing list at
 112 [15:51] <ClassBot> There are 10 minutes remaining in the current session.
 113 [15:51] <charlie-tca> The ubuntu accessibility team wiki is
 114 [15:51] <ClassBot> quietone asked: what about when I create documents, what can I do to increase their accessibility?
 115 [15:52] <charlie-tca> Great question from quietone!
 116 [15:52] <charlie-tca> Are your documents written using good grammar?
 117 [15:52] <charlie-tca> Are there references which are incomplete?
 118 [15:53] <charlie-tca> by that, I mean, things that the normal person sees, such as a wiki reference that reads "" instead of ""
 119 [15:54] <charlie-tca> that is a simple thing for most people. When the document is put on line, are the fonts fixed? Can I increase the size if needed without losing half the information?
 120 [15:54] <charlie-tca> Can I not have a document without contrasts? grey on black is really not visible.
 121 [15:55] <charlie-tca> Question:  how well does 'simon' work?
 122 [15:55] <charlie-tca> I am not familiar with simon. I can not answer this for you.
 123 [15:55] <ClassBot> There are 5 minutes remaining in the current session.
 124 [15:57] <charlie-tca> QUESTION: Please explain "Can I increase the size if needed without losing half the information" or make a recommendation of what to do.
 125 [15:58] <charlie-tca> On many on-line websites, the fonts are fixed. That is, the website creator has specified the font size in a css file.
 126 [15:59] <charlie-tca> When I go to that site, I use Ctrl + plus to increase the font size, and the font grows. Unfortunately, when I do that, the words go away from the page.
 127 [15:59] <charlie-tca> I can then read what should be there, because growing the font to make is visible makes it too big for the site pages.
 128 === ChanServ changed the topic of #ubuntu-classroom to: Welcome to the Ubuntu Classroom - || Support in #ubuntu || Upcoming Schedule: || Questions in #ubuntu-classroom-chat || UOW Survey: || Event: Ubuntu Open Week - Current Session: Intro to Ubuntu Development - Instructors: bilalakhtar - Slides:
 129 [16:01] <charlie-tca> I hope this information is useful to you. We are always looking for more people to become more involved in Accessibility.

MeetingLogs/openweekMaverick/AccessibilityisImportant (last edited 2010-10-15 01:36:24 by nigelbabu)