ARIA focus and 'remote' remote controls

Hi folks,

I'm looking at ARIA, wondering if it can be used or adapted for
describing interfaces such that 'remote' remote controls can be
attached. Or whether anyone is already doing this. By 'remote'
remotes, I mean controllers that are distant across the network,
whether hardware or software, and connected with either 1-way or 2-way
communication channels.

For example, using a cheap up/down/left/right handheld Apple Remote to
control / navigate a video-playing widget within a social network
site. For another example, using a smartphone (eg. iphone app) to
navigate a 'media centre' TV system such as Boxee/XBMC.

 In both cases I am using XMPP (aka 'Jabber', an internet messaging
technology) to establish a communications channel between the remote
and the controlled system. It is easy to stream raw simple 'clicks'
across XMPP and leave the receiving party to try to understand what
they mean (up, up, up, right, play/pause, etc). But it seems harder to
put more smarts in the remote control, since aspects of UI state and
function need to be communicated: such as a list of focus-capable
areas. I am wondering whether ARIA is applicable here; I see a lot of
mentions of tab index order between pieces of UI; however I haven't
found information about spatial layout of such parts, eg. that a move
'right' or 'up' might move focus from region-4 to region-2 or

My particular interest here currently is TV systems, controllers and
electronic program guides, but a lot of these issues are pretty
generic. I've been blogging a bit lately with some working notes as I
experiment with XMPP and related technology such as BOSH, which allows
XMPP messages to be sent into running Web apps - see various posts at especially which describes an experiment
using the Strophe javascript library to wire up a remote control to
communicate with a running html/js webapp.

Thanks for any thoughts and pointers,



ps. I've previously come across related work, eg talked with Gottfried
Zimmermann ...but
am missing an up-to-date sense of where things have got to now that
ARIA is getting deployed.

Received on Sunday, 25 October 2009 12:57:55 UTC