Inclusive Development gets open source tools from IBM
|Christian Hargrave in Open Source Thursday, February 9, 2017|
Editors note: Submitted by Moe Kraft, Accessibility Transformation Lead, IBM Accessibility Research
IBM is embarking on a new era of open source accessibility by releasing tooling, samples and design patterns to help streamline the development of inclusive web and mobile applications.
They have recently released two new projects on the developerWorks/open community, AccProbe and Va11yS, to help alleviate accessibility roadblocks during the agile development process, strengthen the user experience by adhering to industry standards, and reduce costs by ensuring accessibility is done right from the beginning.
According to Black Duck Software’s Future of Open Source Survey 2015, “78 percent of companies run on open source and 88 percent say that they plan to contribute more to open source over the next few years.”
As open source tooling and contributions continue to grow, IBM Accessibility Research is making accessibility more available, easier to deploy, and an integral part of the ecosystem of open technologies. They have been contributing accessible open source tools since 2005 when it contributed code to the Mozilla Foundation to ensure the Firefox browser could render accessible rich internet applications (ARIA).
Inspecting and Correcting Accessibility Violations
To help identify and fix accessibility issues during development, IBM released AccProbe, which combines the functionality of numerous accessibility inspection and event management tools into one application to test and correct accessibility violations in rich client applications.
Their management tool is a standalone, Eclipse Rich Client Platform application that provides access to the Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) and IAccessible2 APIs implemented in an application or rendered document, and to the user interface of that application or document. Accessibility APIs, such as IAccessible2, are implemented by browsers or user agents to communicate accessibility information about objects on the screen to assistive technologies, such as screen readers.
AccProbe is unique in that it helps speed and scale the development of accessible rich client applications that implement MSAA and IAccessible2 APIs so users can test and correct violations without requiring the use of screen readers. It also adheres to the standards outlined in the IAccessible2 specification and the W3C Core Accessibility API Mappings ensuring that any application will meet these requirements.
AccProbe also provides:
- Event monitoring, such as when the focus changes on a screen and someone tabs to a new area. AccProbe helps ensure the screen reader knows when the focus changes.
- Inspection of software applications ensuring the implementation of new interoperability APIs, which align to the requirements outlined in the U.S. Section 508 ICT Refresh.
- Verification that textual information is provided through operating system APIs and that forms be accessible for assistive technologies allowing them access to field elements and the ability to submit the form.