Related to OAF

LESSON 1: OAF is a powerful tool for helping ensure that all aspects needed for ICT accessibility are thought about and addressed when building accessibility into new (or even existing) platforms. It showed gaps in otherwise fairly mature accessible mobile platforms (iOS, Android), and led to innovative new AT (Tecla) that is already making a profound difference in the lives of people with physical impairments.

The appropriate “path” through the OAF varies with the level of maturity of the ICT that the OAF is being applied to. In the case of a brand new ICT platform (e.g. digital TV), a longitudinal approach covering all six steps is required. In the case of an ICT platform that already has a fairly mature accessibility infrastructure, focusing closely on individual steps helps illustrate potential gaps – e.g. focusing on AT for each and every user need (step #6) and where that AT falls short of the best in the industry (on any other platform) should then be followed backward to the platform, to the accessibility API definition & implementation, etc., in order to determine where the failing is so that it can be rectified. Note that such an analysis may require significant expertise – OAF methodology is not so codified that such an analysis can be carried out by anyone.

LESSON 2: OAF Step #2 – stock components – is particularly key. Compare this to the W3C “Essential Components of Web Accessibility”, which lacks such a step (or emphasis/recognition of the importance of stock/reusable components) – our work in jQueryUI and MooTools and FluidInfusion proves the importance and value of such components for web applications (which was not a major concept when the Web Accessibility Initiative began).

LESSON 3: The OAF can drive research in two key ways: (1) by showing where there are accessibility framework gaps & AT gaps for various platforms, and (2) by helping highlight where more basic research is needed because user needs are not well addressed by the existing OAF model. A good illustration of (1) was demonstrated within AEGIS through highlighting gaps in iOS and Android, some of which Google is already addressing in successive releases of Android, and some of which Apple has not yet addressed (which accounts for the less efficient UI offered by Tecla on iOS vs. Android). A good illustration of (2) is the fact that we have little in the way of platform-wide AT for users with a variety of cognitive impairments, pointing to the research opportunity to develop them (and potentially enhance the OAF to account for the needs of such AT).