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Subject: Re: accessibility of the rockbox utility

Re: accessibility of the rockbox utility

From: Dominik Riebeling <dominik.riebeling_at_gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 10 May 2009 18:09:53 +0000

On Sun, May 10, 2009 at 5:27 PM, alex wallis
<alexwallis646_at_googlemail.com> wrote:
> I was just doing some research into qt, and I ran across a document
> detailing a lot of features that allow qt applications to work with
> technology such as screen readers.

This document is known. The main thing you should get from it is that
Qt's internal widgets already support accessibility:

Qt applications use QAccessibleInterface to expose information about
the individual UI elements. Currently, Qt provides support for its
widgets and widget parts

Rockbox Utility doesn't introduce new widgets, so support for the used
widget is present. However, some properties might need to get set to
improve accessibility. NVDA, which I'm using for occasional tests,
does read the interface to me. This does not help me in any way to
figure if the text that is read is actually enough to cope with the
interface without seeing it. This is the point where input from blind
users is actually _needed_, but unfortunately the usual input is only
something like "it does not work". Unless someone explains how a blind
user "sees" the interface there's not much we can do about it because
we don't know _what_ to do.

A more general and overview document on accessibility with Qt is here:
http://doc.trolltech.com/4.5/qt4-accessibility.html

> I guess implementing this would require a lot of code rewriting, especially
> as the utility isn't written in the latest qt. Am I right in thinking there
> isn't a tool to automate converting the code to work with the latest qt?

Err? Rockbox Utility is written based on Qt and requires Qt 4.3 or
later. The latest Windows binary is built using Qt 4.5.1, which is the
_latest_ release of Qt as of today. Qt is upwards compatible on source
level. Please check the documentation first before stating such
obviously wrong claims. Besides, Rockbox Utilty has a menu item About
/ About Qt, which holds the version of Qt the binary was built
against.

> http://doc.trolltech.com/4.3/accessible.html

As you can see from the URL this is a document for Qt 4.3, which is
(as I said above and as written on the RockboxUtility wiki page) the
minimum version of Qt required to build Rockbox Utility. Thus, all of
the functionality provided by Qt itself _is_ available. The important
thing is that you need to statically link the accessibility plugin
when distributing statically linked copies. We're doing this since
long (r14432, which was committed in august 2007 as far as I can tell
from the svn logs). I'm usually trying to keep up with latest Qt
versions for the windows binaries _especially_ to include all
accessibility fixes / updates made to Qt.

On non-windows platforms the situation is a bit more problematic
regarding accessibility. On linux, there are two technologies for the
communication between application and speech system. Unfortunately Qt
uses the currently less established one. And for OS X the situation is
completely unclear (at least for me), but as there is no OS X
developer that port is a bit problematic in general.

If you are interested in improving the accessibility of Rockbox
Utility _please_ help us and explain what the current problems are.
You should be aware that you not only need to point us to problems but
also explain why these are problems, as otherwise it's quite hard to
understand the reason for the issues and thus avoiding it in the
future (plus, it helps finding better ways to fix the issues).

 - Dominik
Received on 2009-05-10


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