Eclipse Accessibility Tools Framework

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Fukuda-Teaser

We talked to Kentarou Fukuda in the Eclipse Accessibility Tools Framework, part of the new Eclipse Galileo Release.

JAXenter: Can you describe the Eclipse ACTF Project
in a few words?

Kentarou Fukuda: The Eclipse Accessibility
Tools Framework (ACTF) project is working to provide an extensible
and comprehensive framework for accessibility tools. Our ultimate
goal is to that each artifact generated with or developed on the
Eclipse IDE will be accessible for everyone.

JAXenter: Can you give a typical use case for the
project?

Kentarou Fukuda: A typical use case of the
current ACTF is to check and improve the accessibility of Web
content. ACTF provides an integrated development environment for
accessible Web applications, going even beyond legislative
compliance (such as U.S. Section 508) and also considering the
special usability needs of voice access users and low vision users.
ACTF also can be used as an SDK to develop accessibility-related
tools, such as accessibility checkers or usability visualization
tools like our aDesigner (http://www.eclipse.org/actf/downloads/tools/aDesigner/index.php).

JAXenter:
What
´s new in
the Galileo Version of  ACTF ?

Kentarou Fukuda: In the ACTF 0.7 (Galileo
release), ACTF extends the Web, J2EE, and PHP Perspectives of
Eclipse with seamless accessibility-evaluation features, such as
automatic error detection, visualization of usability for voice
access users, and image-processing-based simulation of the views of
people with various visual problems. These features can help
developers in quickly recognizing, learning about, and improving
the accessibility of their applications. ACTF 0.7 supports checking
the accessibility of ODF files by using the latest OpenOffice.org
3.x.  Flash accessibility check function of ACTF supports SWF
version 9 files. We also provides documentation for users and
developers in this release.

JAXenter: Why is it
important to be part of Galileo?

Kentarou Fukuda: To join an annual release was
one of our main objectives for the project. We want to contribute
to Eclipse and to raise public awareness of the project. Through
this work, the quality and the maturity of ACTF were drastically
improved. It’s a good experience for us to work with such a large
community. We’ll continue to enhance ACTF by leveraging this
experience.

JAXenter: Where do you see
ACTF in one year? How will the project evolve after
Galileo?

Kentarou Fukuda: The Eclipse ACTF team is
planning to start community implementation of checking logic for
new and coming accessibility guidelines, such as WCAG 2.0 and the
new Section 508 revisions. We are already working on several new
features for visual complexity visualization and accessibility
evaluation for mobile devices, which will expand the coverage of
ACTF in the next release. We also have plans to work with other
Eclipse projects, such as WTP and PDT, to provide a more integrated
accessibility improvement environment for Web developers. Please
give us your feedback to improve ACTF!

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