Solving the ODF Accessibility Challenge
Last week, we announced that IBM had contributed a set of interfaces called IAccessible2 to the Free Standards Group as part of existing Accessibility workgroup.
This is an important step for ODF, Linux and the disabled community. The standardized interfaces donated by IBM, IAccessible2, make it far easier for application developers to provide accessible applications to computer users with disabilities, regardless of their OS platform. The new interfaces work on Microsoft Windows and are designed to dramatically reduce the effort to support assistive technologies, such as screen readers on other platforms, including Linux, making multi-platform enablement much easier. In other words, it just got a lot easier for developers to provide access to their applications to the greatest number of users, on the greatest number of platforms. This effort was accelerated by the need to produce accessible productivity software based on ODF to meet the needs of municipalities such as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which has mandated the use of open standards such as ODF.
You can read the press release here.
Ian Murdock, our CTO, wrote an excellent entry here.
Andy Updegrove, standards guru, presents a great analysis here.
Aaron Leventhal of IBM has more detail on the interfaces here.