Welcome to the new blog from the Ubuntu Accessibility Team!
With all the focus on getting accessibility support in Unity and looking forward at all the exciting things going on in the world of open source accessibility support, we decided that it was time the team had a blog.
The Ubuntu Accessibility Team is a joint community and Canonical team which works on development, testing, support, and documentation for accessibility for people with sensory, cognative, physical, and any other type of impairments. Most of the development work is done within Canonical with the current focus being getting the accessibility framework written for and into Unity in time for the Natty Narwhal (11.04) release. On the community side we focus on support, testing and bug fixing, and documentation. We also do work to educate both the larger Ubuntu community about accessibility and the disability community about Ubuntu and open source software.
Currently there are several main projects happening:
- Development – Luke Yelavich and others at Canonical are getting the accessibility framework, keyboard navigation, and other accessibility related issues into Unity.
- The Personas Project – Community members have researched and are writing design and development personas that will fit in with the preexisting design personas for Ubuntu covering a range of impairments. We hope that these will be useful both to Ubuntu designers and developers and to add to the growing number of general accessibility personas out there in the open source community. We’re always looking for new people willing to help with the writing now that the research is done.
- Testing – We have worked on some general preparations and guidelines for testing accessibility so that as soon as the new accessibility features are in Natty and available for community testing, we can test! Luke and his cohorts have had to write a new framework in a very short amount of time and we need to get it tested as thoroughly and quickly as possible so that everyone who chooses can use Unity. The bug squad has agreed to label all Unity accessibility bugs as Medium priority or higher and there will now be ISO testing for installing as a blind user (after it turned out Maverick is not possible to install without assistance if you’re blind).
- Documentation – We’re waiting for the accessibility features to show up in Unity so that we can get the documentation done. We hope to work with and get support from the Ubuntu Doc team in doing so.
- Outreach – Most of our outreach is still informal in blog posts, social networking, and other personal types of outreach. I am looking forward to expanding this part of the team in the future. I’d like to see people from the Ubuntu Accessibility team liaising more with other open source accessibility teams, but also going out and having a presence at both open source conferences and disability conferences.
The Ubuntu Accessibility Team can be found in the following places:
- Mailing list: firstname.lastname@example.org
- IRC: #ubuntu-accessibility on irc.freenode.net
The Ubuntu Project Philosophy includes a commitment that that every computer user “Should be able to use all software regardless of disability.” The Ubuntu Accessibility Team is working hard to make that a reality.