Thursday, March 26, 2009

Toward an Accessible Democracy --- White House Moderator AxsJAXed

Toward An Accessible Democracy --- White House Moderator AxsJAXed!

This is not directly Emacspeak related --- except that it is useful for emacspeak users. Project AxsJAX, combined with Fire-Vox does for Web-2.0 applications what Emacspeak does for applications written within Emacs. Charles and I just announced AxsJAX For White House Moderator --- an AxsJAX extension that applies W3C ARIA to the White House Moderator.I'll append the article below:

An ARIA For The White House Moderator

Google-AxsJAX was launched in late 2007 as a library for access-enabling Web-2.0 applications. Since then, we have released accessibility enhancements for many Web-2.0 applications via the AxsJAX site as early experiments that have eventually graduated into the products being extended. Today, we are happy to announce an early AxsJAX extension for Google Moderator that enables fluent eyes-free use of Google Moderator as seen on the White House site.

HowTo: Brief Overview.

For details on installing and using AxsJAX extensions, see the AxsJAX FAQ. Briefly, you need Firefox 3.0 and a screenreader that supports W3C ARIA. Users who do not have a screenreader installed can most easily experience the results by installing Fire Vox, a freely available self-voicing extension for Firefox.

With the AxsJAX extension in place, you can use Google Moderator via the keyboard, with all user interaction producing spoken feedback via W3C ARIA. Here is a brief overview of the user experience:

  1. The user interface is divided into logical panes --- one listing topic areas, and the other listing questions in a given topic. At times, e.g., before a meeting, you may find an additional Featured Question pane that shows a randomly selected question that you can vote on.
  2. Users can ask new questions under a given topic, or give a thumbs-up/down to questions that have already been asked.
  3. Use the left and right arrow keys to switch between the two panes. You hear the title of the selected pane as you switch.
  4. Use up and down arrows to navigate among the items in the selected pane. As you navigate, you hear the current item.
  5. Hit enter to select the current item.
  6. The current item can be magnified by repeated presses of the + (or =) key. To reduce magnification, press the - key.
  7. When navigating the questions in a given topic, hit y or n to vote a question up or down.
  8. When navigating items in the topic pane, hit a to ask a question. Once you confirm your request to post the question, it will show up in the list of questions for that topic so that others can vote that question up or down.

Please use Google Group Accessible for providing feedback on this AxsJAX extension.

Share And Enjoy--

Raman and Charles.