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Re: AxsJAX --- Distributing Accessibility At Web-Scale

From: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2007 08:10:59 -0600
To: "T.V Raman" <raman@google.com>
Cc: w3c-wai-pf@w3.org, wai-xtech@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF764EDE26.95494B54-ON86257393.004D569C-86257393.004DFC56@us.ibm.com>
T.V, 
this sounds very encouraging.  Is there any repository of widgets or 
snippet of open source code yet? 

I read reference to Google Reader, a highly optimized feed reader with 
very good keyboard support that you decided to access-enable this 
application using W3C ARIA. How did you use GreaseMonkey to inject 
JavaScript code to add the needed ARIA bits to make Google Reader say the 
right things at the right time?

Are there any bookmarklets --- small snippets of JavaScript that are used 
to create smart bookmarks, available to use or inspect how ARIA is used?

But more importantly how does this compare to DoJo and other open source 
toolkits of accessible widgets? 

Regards,
Phill Jenkins
IBM Research - Human Ability & Accessibility Center
http://www.ibm.com/able




"T.V Raman" <raman@google.com> 
Sent by: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org
11/13/2007 05:10 PM

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wai-xtech@w3.org, w3c-wai-pf@w3.org
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Subject
AxsJAX --- Distributing Accessibility At Web-Scale






Friends,

Some of you saw live demos at the W3C Plenary from me and Charles
of an early release of our AxsJAX framework. We just announced it
to the wider Web community --- see
http://google-code-updates.blogspot.com/2007/11/introducing-axsjax-access-enabling-ajax.html


I'm attaching a list of Frequently Asked Questions to the end of
this message. AxsJAX and its associated documentation is at
http://code.google.com/p/google-axsjax


AxsJAX Frequently Asked Questions
Table of Contents
1 Introduction To AxsJAX 
1.1 What Is AxsJAX?
1.2 What New Opportunities Does AxsJAX Open Up?
1.3 What Are Its Accessibility Goals?
1.4 AxsJAX Uses JavaScript --- Isn't That Inaccessible?
1.5 Is AxsJAX Specific To Google Applications?
1.6 What Are The Long-term Goals For AxsJAX?
1.7 How Is AxsJAX Pronounced?
2 AxsJAX Technical Overview 
2.1 What Prerequisites Does AxsJAX Assume?
2.2 How Does AxsJAX Leverage W3C ARIA?
2.3 What Google Applications Does It Presently Enhance?
2.4 How Does AxsJAX Help Screen Reader Vendors?
2.5 How Does AxsJAX Help The Evolution Of Access Standards?
2.6 How Does AxsJAX Inject Accessibility?
2.7 How Can Web Developers Experience AxsJAX Enhancements?
1 Introduction To AxsJAX 
1.1 What Is AxsJAX?
Web 2.0 applications are powered by AJAX --- Asynchronous JavaScript And 
XML. AxsJAX leverages AJAX techniques to inject accessibility support into 
Web 2.0 applications. 
1.2 What New Opportunities Does AxsJAX Open Up?
AJAX techniques have helped Web developers create live applications within 
Web browsers. The AxsJAX framework helps inject accessibility features 
into these applications so that users of adaptive technologies such as 
screen readers and self-voicing browsers experience the same level of 
interactivity that is now taken for granted by users of Web 2.0 
applications. 
1.3 What Are Its Accessibility Goals?
Our accessibility goals include but are not limited to: 
Discover and codify design patterns for access-enabling AJAX applications. 

Serve as a test-bed for implementors of adaptive technologies in extending 
their tools to handle Web 2.0 applications. 
Help discover and fill-in gaps in the various standards that deal with the 
accessibility of AJAX applications. 
1.4 AxsJAX Uses JavaScript --- Isn't That Inaccessible?
Web applications that use JavaScript have traditionally proven an access 
barrier to screen reader users for the following reasons: 
Adaptive technologies cannot always interpret the meaning of actions 
invoked via JavaScript. 
Asynchronous page updates leave screen readers at a loss as to what to 
speak. 
A set of W3C specifications collectively refered to as W3C ARIA is 
addressing these issues. Though AJAX applications will continue to remain 
unusable from legacy browsers like lynx, there is no reason why they 
should remain forever inaccessible to users of adaptive technologies. 
Finally, JavaScript in the browser is a powerful mechanism that has 
enabled us to turn the Web from a world of static documents to a platform 
for deploying dynamic end-user applications. The primary goal of the 
AxsJAX framework is to leverage these same advantages presented by 
JavaScript in the browser to create flexible, powerful accessibility 
solutions. 
1.5 Is AxsJAX Specific To Google Applications?
We are open-sourcing the AxsJAX framework early in its development to 
foster a healthy community around the concept of access-enabling Web 
applications by injecting accessibility enhancements via JavaScript. 
AxsJAX initially targets Google applications. As we discover design 
patterns that work, we are refactoring these into common modules that 
foster code reuse. Notice that these common modules are not Google 
specific, and can be leveraged to inject accessibility enhancements to any 
application deployed on the Web. 
1.6 What Are The Long-term Goals For AxsJAX?
The long-term goals of AxsJAX will be largely end-user driven. This 
initial release hints at the type of end-user benefits that can be enabled 
via such a framework. Our goal is to create a healthy community built on 
an open framework for enhancing the accessibility of Web 2.0 applications. 

1.7 How Is AxsJAX Pronounced?
AxsJAX is pronounced Access Jax to rhyme with AJAX. 
2 AxsJAX Technical Overview
2.1 What Prerequisites Does AxsJAX Assume?
AxsJAX injects accessibility enhancements as defined by W3C ARIA. The 
prerequisites for experiencing its benefits include: 
1.      A modern Web browser like Firefox 2.0 or later that supports W3C 
ARIA. 
2.      Adaptive technologies that respond correctly to the accessibility 
enhancements introduced by W3C ARIA. 
3.      In particular, many of the enhancements injected by AxsJAX depend 
on support for live regions a feature that enables adaptive technologies 
like screen readers and self-voicing browsers deal correctly with 
asynchronous updates to portions of a Web page. 
2.2 How Does AxsJAX Leverage W3C ARIA?
W3C ARIA is a collection of specifications that is presently under 
development at the W3C. Early support for W3C ARIA is available in Firefox 
2.0, and its features are beginning to be leveraged by newer versions of 
screen readers. 
W3C ARIA works by enhancing the DOM with accessibility specific 
properties. The AxsJAX framework enables the injection of such DOM 
properties into existing Web applications via JavaScript. It provides a 
light-weight yet flexibile mechanism for experimenting with various design 
patterns for enhancing the accessibility of AJAX applications. 
2.3 What Google Applications Does It Presently Enhance?
Google Reader 
Google Search 
2.4 How Does AxsJAX Help Screen Reader Vendors?
The set of specifications collectively known as W3C ARIA is still under 
active development. Applications that have been enhanced via AxsJAX 
provide real-life examples for testing ARIA support within new versions of 
screen readers. Thus, whereas individual test-suites help screen reader 
developers test support for a given feature, AxsJAX enabled applications 
provide live examples for carrying out end-to-end testing. 
2.5 How Does AxsJAX Help The Evolution Of Access Standards?
W3C ARIA is still under active development. By access-enabling complete 
applications, AxsJAX helps in the development of the W3C ARIA 
specifications by discovering what works and by identifying gaps that need 
to be filled. 
2.6 How Does AxsJAX Inject Accessibility?
The AxsJAX framework can inject accessibility enhancements into existing 
Web 2.0 applications using any of several standard Web techniques: 
As bookmarklets --- small snippets of JavaScript that are used to create 
smart bookmarks. 
Using GreaseMonkey --- a powerful browser extension that allows end-users 
to customize the look and feel of Web sites via custom scripts. 
In particular, the accessibility enhancements provided by AxsJAX are not 
tied to any single injection technique, and we are looking to the Open 
Source community to come up with additional innovative means for 
performing such enhancements. 
2.7 How Can Web Developers Experience AxsJAX Enhancements?
The open source Fire Vox extension to Firefox provides an ideal tool for 
Web developers who may not necessarily have commercial screen readers 
available for testing. Fire Vox is a cross-platform self-voicing extension 
to Firefox that includes early support for most of the leading edge 
features of W3C ARIA. 
Author: T.V. Raman, Charles L. Chen <raman@google.com, clchen@google.com> 
Date: 2007/10/30 14:35:13
--Charles and Raman (The Google Access Jacks)
Received on Wednesday, 14 November 2007 14:11:22 GMT

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