So, you have finally finished developing your dream application, and you are ready to release it out in the wild. But have you checked to see if it is accessible for people using assistive technology, like a screen reader? Do you even know what a screen reader is? Do you need to download a screen reader and check for accessibility, and would you even know how to?
Thanks to IBM’s Accessibility Probe, AccProbe for short, you don’t need to do anything but run the checker and make the suggested corrections before releasing your app to the public.
From the Developer
The Accessibility Probe (AccProbe) is a standalone, Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP) application that combines the functionality of numerous accessibility tools, including object inspection, event monitoring, and execution of accessibility APIs, into one easy-to-use application for accessibility testing and debugging.
AccProbe provides access to the Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) and IAccessible2 APIs implemented by the currently running application or rendered document and to the properties of the accessible objects of that application or document. AccProbe also provides event monitoring for tracking the events fired by these accessible objects
There are 3 panes, one listing the objects of the current application, one showing the IAccessible2 properties and APIs available for the objects and one listing the most recent events such as Focus events
Accessibility APIs, such as IAccessible2, are implemented by browsers or user agents and communicate accessibility information about objects on the screen to assistive technologies such as screen readers.
The W3C Core Accessibility API Mappings outlines how the user agents should implement these APIs to expose the appropriate semantics. Assistive technologies, such as screen readers used by the blind and visually impaired, leverage the information returned by the user agents to provide access to persons with disabilities to the information and controls of an application.
With the impending US Section 508 ICT Refresh, rich client applications such as Eclipse RCP and Windows desktop applications, will be required to provide the same level of access to information about objects and controls on the screen as do rich Internet applications today. Contributing to this project will expose you to the world of accessibility APIs, help you grow an appreciation and understanding for UI control accessibility information, and interaction while furthering the mission to create a more accessible universe.
As rich client applications are required to provide the same level of accessibility information for UI controls as Web applications currently do, AccProbe plays an important role in testing and debugging the implementation of both the traditional MSAA APIs and the new IAccessible2 APIs.
AccProbe helps to speed and scale the development of accessible rich client applications that implement MSAA and IAccessible2 APIs. AccProbe allows for testing and debugging this implementation of accessibility APIs without requiring the use of assistive technologies. AccProbe adheres to the standards outlined in the IAccessible2 specification and the W3C Core Accessibility API Mappings ensuring that your application will meet these requirements.