News Archive
AEGIS Open Accessibility Framework

AEGIS released the Open Accessibility Framework (D1.2.1 AEGIS OAF and high-level architecture). It consists of two things:

  • A document describing the framework of things needed for 3rd generation accessibility, as validated by the prototypes and user/developer feedback in AEGIS
  • A collection of largely open source prototypes and code Deliverables implementing various aspects of the OAF, proven in AEGIS and contributed back to the open source projects of which they are part

This Deliverable (D1.2.1) contains the initial AEGIS Open Accessibility Framework (OAF) description.  It is based upon:

  • The accessibility API and framework support from the existing Open Desktop (GNOME Accessibility framework) and the Java platform (the Java Accessibility API, keyboard operability guidelines, and theme support);
  • The AEGIS generic accessibility framework requirements (AEGIS ID1.2.1).

In addition, this Deliverable is informed by the early feedback from AEGIS consortium developments – highlighting anticipated areas that the OAF will necessarily need to cover.  This includes:

  • ARIA implementations on various UI elements,
  • Initial work on JavaFX accessibility,
  • Alternate input systems for users with physical impairments (both for the open desktop as well as “thought experiments” for mobile),
  • Development of the RIM Blackberry mobile accessibility API and its use by the Oratio screen reader.

Finally, this Deliverable is informed by developments in the field of accessibility external to AEGIS development work.  This includes:

  • ISO 13066 work to standardize AT-IT interoperability generally, and specifically to codify the set of information that must be provided via accessibility APIs;
  • The U.S. Access Board release of their “Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” for the refresh of the Section 508 and Section 255 accessibility regulations/guidelines;
  • The Apple iPhone 3GS/4 (and iPad) which include a built-in screen reader and screen magnifier, both of which rely on a new set of multi-touch gestures for use;
  • The Android v1.6 and later operating system which includes the 'Talk Back' screen reading functionality.

This initial OAF description will be updated throughout the remainder of the AEGIS project with the practical information we gain from implementing it in the desktop, web, and mobile space.

For more information, visit the OAEG OAF section. It outlines the Six Steps to Making an Accessible World: The Open Accessibility Framework.

Web Accessibility in Advanced Technologies

The Special Thematic Session "Web Accessibility in Advanced Technologies" will be organised at the ICCHP 2012 in Linz, the 13th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs.

This conference will take place on July 11-13, 2012; with the Pre-Conference July 09-10, 2012. Place to be is the University of Linz, Altenbergerstraße 69, 4040 Linz, Austria.

The Web is rapidly evolving and converging with other media and technologies. Today the Web is on mobile devices, televisions, self-service terminals, and computer desktops. It is continuing to be increasingly ubiquitous and indistinguishable from other interfaces and an ambient part of our daily lives, particularly with the advancement of "the cloud.

Given the highly flexible and adaptable nature of the Web, its growth provides a critical potential of increased inclusion and equality for people with disabilities. However, it also raises new challenges for technology, software, and content developers in making their products and services accessible. In particular, the specific accessibility challenges and optimal ways for providing accessibility support are not well understood in all contexts, making it difficult to effectively design and develop accessible mainstream technologies.

This Special Thematic Session (STS) invites contribution and discussion on experiences with the day-to-day challenges that developers, evaluators, managers, policy makers, and other practitioners observe in implementing web accessibility in advanced technologies.

More specifically, this STS invites contributions analyzing good practices, use-cases, end-user requirements, promising accessibility features and solutions, and challenges in applying web accessibility in specific contexts such as (but not limited to):

  • HTML5 and rich internet applications;
  • Websites and applications for mobiles;
  • Digital/IP TV and audio-visual media;

This STS also welcomes research, surveys, and discussion of future trends and directions including (but not limited to) web telephony and real-time communication, self-service terminals (e.g. information kiosks, ticketing machines, ATM, etc.), online games, social networks, virtual and augmented environments, 3D Web, multi-touch, and the use of cloud technology for personalized accessible interfaces.

Acknowledgements: This Special Thematic Session (STS) is jointly organized by the EC-funded WAI-ACT, AEGIS, and ACCESSIBLE projects.


  • Shadi Abou-Zahra, W3C/WAI
  • Karel Van Isacker, EPR/MCA
  • Konstantinos Votis, CERTH/ITI

More information at

Listen to Peter Korn (Oracle) at JavaOne event

The Java Spotlight Episode 58 features Peter Korn and Ofir Leitner on ME Accessibility, and can be downloaded here. Peter Korn is Oracle's Accessibility Principal – their senior individual contributor on accessibility.


AEGIS at European Day of People with Disabilities policy event

AEGIS will be present with a demonstration booth at the European Day of People with Disabilities policy event organised by the European Commission to demonstrate its various tools and applications. It takes place on 1-2 December 2011, in close cooperation with the European Disability Forum (EDF).

AccessODF taking off

The recently released AccessODF, a new open-source extension for LibreOffice Writer and Writer that helps authors evaluate and repair accessibility issues, is taking up quite a ride (The H-Online, ODF Plugfest,, Oracle blog).

The extension does not only identify accessibility issues and provide repair suggestions (like Microsoft Office 2010) but also provides automatic or semi-automatic repair functionality where possible. For example, if the checker finds an empty heading or a table where rows are allowed to break across pages, you can simply press the repair button to fix that ("automatic repair"). If the checker finds an image without alt text, pressing the repair button will open the dialog where you can enter a text alternative, which saves you a few steps ("semi-automatic repair").

AccessODF complements to other extensions: odt2daisy, which exports Writer documents to DAISY, and odt2braille, which exports Writer documents to a Braille format or sends them to an embosser. Both extensions are available on SourceForge. Accessibility evaluation was a feature frequently requested by users of odt2daisy and odt2braille.

You can download the extension from SourceForge. A press release is available here.

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