Archive for the ‘IBM’ Category

Creating accessible applications with Eclipse: An introduction

December 15, 2005

Hand on Computer Screen illustrationLevel: Introductory Mark Pilgrim, Accessibility Architect, IBM
Barry Feigenbaum, Worldwide Accessibility Center, IBM
Richard Schwerdtfeger, Distinguished Engineer, IBM
Kip Harris, Worldwide Accessibility Center, IBM
15 Dec 2005

from The Rational Edge: This first article in a new series on building accessible applications with Eclipse begins by looking at assistive technologies and disabilities. It then discusses the functions and features that make Eclipse well suited for creating accessible applications on Windows or UNIX.  

Accessibility is an umbrella term that covers everything and everyone involved in making a product usable by people with different abilities. Software accessibility has become a rapidly expanding field that encompasses all of the following:

  • Creation of application programming interfaces (APIs) for application developers that expose a program’s user interface to other programs.
  • Creation and incorporation of assistive technologies (ATs) — third-party software and hardware that hooks into an application’s accessibility APIs.
  • Compliance with the legal accessibility requirements mandated by several countries, including the US.
  • Accommodating end users with a variety of abilities and disabilities.
  • Ensuring interoperability for system accessibility features.

In the US, the primary commercial (versus humanitarian) driver for making applications accessible is a 1998 amendment to the Rehabilitation Act, known as Section 508. Requiring federal agencies to make their information technology accessible to people with disabilities, Section 508 applies to all information technology procurements within these agencies, with certain exceptions (see Appendix).   (more…)

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IBM Software for Older Users

October 3, 2005

Big Blue introduces software that makes working on computers and surfing the Net easier for older employees – October 3, 2005 – IBM plans to roll out software Monday designed to make working on the computer and surfing the Net easier for aging workers, with tools that adjust keyboard settings and magnify web page content, among other features.
The new software tools, designed especially for older workers with disabilities, are the product of five years of work by IBM researchers. Big Blue is also looking to tap the world’s 11 million software developers by launching an online resource to enable them to build applications that include accessibility features.

With the software, IBM is targeting the seven in 10 Americans who say they plan on working past the age of 65, according to AARP. Also, two-thirds of the U.S. population will experience some sort of disability beyond the age of 65, according to the U.S. census.   (more…)