Why accessibility bugs harm KDE and how to get rid of them
Speaker: Olaf Schmidt
The talk will explain how KDE developers can find and fix accessibility bugs in their code. It will also show how the KDE Accessibility team is cooperating with usability experts and artists on useful guidance for developers.
A recent study for the European commission shows that more than 80% of public bodies (governments, schools, etc) in the EU are using free software (and more than 10% KDE). This increasing use of open source solutions is accompanied by a growing awareness that software deployed in public bodies needs to be accessible to people with all kinds of different needs (including users with disabilities).
KDE can only continue the positive trend if accessibility problems are been given greater focus in KDE4 than was the case for KDE3. The good news is that KDE is in a good position to achieve this by making full use of Trolltech's accessibility improvements in Qt4 and by cooperating on open standards. But apart from this general work on the accessibility frameworks, it is also necessary to find and fix the big number of small accessibility problems in applications.
Typical areas for accessibility bugs are hardcoded sizes or colours, broken colour scheme support in applications and widget styles, as well as missing keyboard navigation. All of these problems also have a direct impact on usability and affect "normal" users as well as people with different needs. And most of them can be avoided or fixed by keeping a few simple rules in mind.
Olaf Schmidt has been involved with KDE Accessibility since 2002.