IAccessible2 Development: An Accessibility API that Works for Assistive Technologies and Applications
- Richard Schwerdtfeger, Distinguished Engineer, IBM
- Pete Brunet, Senior Software Engineer,IBM
- Andres Gonzalez, Senior Computer Scientist,Adobe
- (others to be announced)
The IAccessible2 accessibility API complements and extends MSAA in several important areas (Brunet and Weiss, 2007). For instance, it provides support for accessibility of input text fields, including caret and text selection tracking, as well as support for complex document layouts like tables. It incorporates the ability of conveying semantically rich relationships between user interface elements beyond the parent-child relationships determined by the accessible object hierarchy.
The similarities of IAccessible2 with the Linux accessibility API makes it an attractive approach for accessibility support in applications that run in both the Windows and Linux platforms. The cross-platform aware design of IAccessible2 and the richness of its features are particularly relevant for accessibility of structured, interactive documents (Gonzalez and Guarino Reid, 2005).
Since its publication as an open standard in December of 2006 under the Linux Foundation's auspices, the IAccessible2 specifications and accompanying documentation has been reviewed and contributed to by representatives of leading companies in the software industry as well as assistive technology vendors. In this panel, the authors will bring together some of the lead developers involved in this effort to share their experiences in supporting IAccessible2. The discussion topics will include best implementation practices, as well as identifying possible pitfalls and existing limitations. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the latest development tools to help IAccessible2 implementers, such as AccProbe. Participants will also demonstrate some of the accessibility features in popular applications, only possible through IAccessible2 support. Ideas about future enhancements to IAccessible2 will be debated.