Default button should be "help"

Bug #749700 reported by Alan Bell on 2011-04-03
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
gnome-orca (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: orca

when orca gets focus it reads out "orca screen reader slash magnifier frame preferences button" pressing return leads you to a complicated screen of options. If the default button was the help button then pressing space or return might actually take you to some kind of information on how to use it (Orca is pretty poor at reading you it's own help files but that is a separate issue)

affects: orca (Ubuntu) → gnome-orca (Ubuntu)

Well, the thing about reading its own help files are the accessibility of those files. Ubuntu Natty has -- in the most recent releases -- migrated to WebKitGtk based help. WebKitGtk has recently gotten a bunch of bug fixes to be more accessible. Similarly, now that those bugs were fixed, I have recently added the support required to work with WebKitGtk-based Yelp.

In order for Orca to read WebKitGtk-based Yelp, one must activate caret navigation via pressing F7. This is a Yelp thing and it is only required to be done initially. In addition, it is my understanding that those installing Ubuntu via the accessibility profile will (in subsequent releases) have this pre-toggled on for them.

Beyond the above, there have been some changes in WebKitGtk that have been included in WebKitGtk 1.4. Luke has suggested to me that Ubuntu may or may not be able to incorporate that version this upcoming release. If you don't, Orca will do a few odd things when presenting help content. If Ubuntu wants help to be accessible, Ubuntu needs to include WebKitGtk 1.4 -- ideally in the actual release; alternatively as a really easy to find PPA.

Lastly, this is just a guess, but people needing to read the Help content most of all are sighted users who are not familiar with screen readers, but can see the nifty 'Help' button. The majority of our actual users, I suspect, would prefer the default button to be Preferences rather than help.

Having said that, I have been known to be wrong. ;-) When questions come up like this, in which there's no technical reason why we couldn't/shouldn't make the change, I ask the users on the Orca-list. I would encourage you to do so. If they all tell me, "Yeah, only a fool would make the Preferences button the default button," I will change it upstream. Fair enough?

Alan Bell (alanbell) wrote :

thanks Joanmarie, I will mail the orca list. And yes, this is part of my overall objective of making Orca so simple to use that even sighted people can use it!

Alan Bell (alanbell) wrote :

incidentally orca *did* read the help, just the content isn't arranged in such a way that it starts by telling you that tab is a good key to press to find more stuff etc.

Regarding the question, it is a shame the community did not respond. I have just sent them a new note forwarding your original message and pointing out this bug.

As for how to read documents, including help.... There are a couple of things to keep in mind when tackling non-visual access to electronic information:

1. A user who is blind sitting down at a computer usually has at the very least 'basic screen reader skills.' Most users have far, far more than that. As a result, introductory announcements telling all users how to access content they very likely already know how to access would probably be seen as an inconvenience by the users; not a convenience.

2. Consider what makes sense. In other words, think of those awesome personae you're working on and what the implications of those are. Often that will tell you want you need to know. The need to press F7 is unfortunate (not common knowledge for all new users) -- BUT it is my understanding that Ubuntu is solving (has solved) that downstream. So F7 will just happen automatically rendering the question of "how to I move into the document?" a non issue. (Thanks Ubuntu!) With this out of the way, you just need to stick to the principle of "to see it you have to move to it." This applies to on-screen objects as much as it does real-life, tangible objects. :-) Thus if you are in a document, how do you read line by line using Orca? Up/Down Arrow. Because that is how you move amongst lines. How do you read by character? Left/Right Arrow. Because that is how you move amongst characters. How do you read by word? Ctrl Left/Ctrl Right. How do you access focus-able objects including links? Tab/Shift+Tab. Etc., etc. If you can do that -- and pretty much any blind user sitting down to independently access a computer should be expected to know at least how to do that -- you have what you need to read help.

Rather than trying to figure out how to make a screen reader for users who are blind more helpful to sighted users, I think the thing to do is figure out how to effectively educate the sighted users who are interested in screen readers but totally unfamiliar with the needs (and strategies) of users who are blind. One way that springs to mind is upstream through documentation on how to smoke test one's application/environment for accessibility. Another way might be through the personae you and your team are developing. Making these documents easier to find on our respective websites for those searching should also be taken into consideration. Modifying Orca itself is not the way to go. IMHO.

Hope this all makes sense. And thanks again for your interest and the ping re the button!

To post a comment you must log in.
This report contains Public information  Edit
Everyone can see this information.

Other bug subscribers