Eclipse Accessibility Tools Framework (ACTF) [#accessibility #a11y]

“The SDK is open source and can easily be used by accessibility researchers and developers alike. Why not try it?”

Visual Complexity Heatmap

The ViCRAM Visual Complexity Heatmap (part of a ViCRAM Visualisation Report)

ACTF is a framework that serves as an extensible infrastructure upon which researchers can build a variety of utilities that help to evaluate and enhance the accessibility of applications and content for people with disabilities. A collection of example utilities are also provided which were created on top of the framework such as compliance validation tools, assistive technology simulation applications, usability visualisation tools, unit-testing utilities, and alternative accessible interfaces for applications. The ACTF componentry and the utilities are integrated into a single tooling environment on top of the Eclipse framework. The framework components function cooperatively with each other and with other Eclipse projects to provide a comprehensive development environment for creating accessible applications and content – be they research or development, indeed, ACTF 0.8 M2 – includes experimental WCAG 2.0 support.

Most of the componentry has been donated by IBM Tokyo, and we have used the Visualisation SDK on the ViCRAM and EVIAA projects to name but too. The SDK is open source and can easily be used by accessibility researchers and developers alike. Why not try it? The Visualisation SDK includes two types of extensible visualisation engines (Blind usability visualisation engine and low-vision simulation engine) and several reusable view components. These components support providing a visual representation of the usability of content or applications for People with Disabilities (PwD). From this milestone release, major features of visualisation part, such as blind usability visualisation, low-vision simulation, Flash content inspection function, etc., can be used in Eclipse IDE by selecting each accessibility perspective.

The example applications comprise:

aDesigner: The aDesigner is an Eclipse RCP application that helps designers ensure that their content and applications are accessible and usable by the visually impaired. aDesigner provides a visual representation of the visually impaired users’ usability of content. It helps users to learn about real accessibility issues in their content and applications. Currently, aDesigner supports HTML, ODF documents and Flash content. It also has accessibility information (MSAA/IA2) inspection functions.

Accessibility Internet Browser for Multimedia (aiBrowser): aiBrowser is an Eclipse RCP application that allows screen reader users to control embedded multimedia content, with commands to play, stop, or control the volume for streaming video, by simply using predefined shortcut keys. Users can customise the behaviour of existing Web content by using metadata. This tool also adds audio descriptions for Internet movies based on a simple text script.

ScriptEditor: The use of multimedia content has increased dramatically over the last few years, but people with limited or no vision have not been able to fully enjoy the benefits of these advances. For example, there are so many movies on the Internet, however, almost none of them have audio descriptions. The ACTF ScriptEditor is an Eclipse RCP application that allows users to easily edit audio descriptions for these movies, and it also tries to reduce cost of audio description by using audio synthesis.

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