Thoughts on Open Accessibility


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Reflections on the relationship between open source licensing and accessibility. Guest lecture for Ryerson University School of Disability Studies' DST 614: Community Access and Technology course.
October 2, 2010

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Thoughts on Open Accessibility

  1. 1. Thoughts on Open Accessibility Colin Clark, Lead Software Architect, Inclusive Design Research Centre
  2. 2. Stuff we’ll talk about • What is Open Source and Open Access? • How do communities work? • How does open source impact accessibility? • What does the Fluid community do?
  3. 3. What Makes Technology Accessible? 1. Understandable 2. Adaptable 3. Can be separated or added to 4. Users can make derivatives
  4. 4. Proprietary Software
  5. 5. What is Open Source? • A Philosophy? • A methodology for creating software? • A licensing strategy?
  6. 6. Types of Licenses Copyleft vs. Attribution-only
  7. 7. What is Open Access? • Nerds aren’t the only ones giving things away • An extension of the scholarly mandate • Free and open licensing of content, journals, and media • Driven by the Creative Commons License
  8. 8. Creative Commons
  9. 9. Open Source Communities • How do they start up? • Who pays for it? • How do they work? • Who’s the boss? • What are the limitations?
  10. 10. Design in Open Source • Design doesn’t happen as often as it should • Systemic problem of poor and inconsistent user interface and experience • Often left to programmers • Tackled at the end • Inadequately tested and refined
  11. 11. Design in Open Source • Why isn’t there more open design? • Design apathy: OSS often utilitarian • Lack of resources • Tricky for designers to get involved
  12. 12. Design in the Fluid community • Amalgamation of user/human- centred, participatory, and inclusive design • Humans at the centre of design decisions (U/HCD) • Democratization of design (PD) • Design for diversity (ID)
  13. 13. Assertions 1. Assistive technology is hopelessly stagnant 2. DRM and “full stack” control like iTunes/iPod limit flexibility and innovation 3. Paying for assistive technology is absurd
  14. 14. Assistive Technologies See the World Like This
  15. 15. ... but the Web is driving whole new UIs
  16. 16. ... but the Web is driving whole new UIs
  17. 17. ... even on the desktop
  18. 18. ... even on the desktop
  19. 19. The Problem with Proprietary • Let’s go back to our four accessibility values • Digital Rights Managements • Controlled stack such as iTunes limits adaptability, alternative access and interfaces
  20. 20. Values for Accessible Technology 1. Understandable 2. Adaptable 3. Can be separated or added to 4. Can make derivatives
  21. 21. Commercial AT • Assistive technology is a hack • Working around the failures of operating system vendors and application developers • We’re seeing a new shift—AT built right in • Beyond that? • AT on the Web • Applications that can adapt to you
  22. 22. Open Source Responsibility • We’re uniquely positioned to focus on the stuff no one else does due to “business factors” • Open provides alternative economics • Closer link between users and developers • Value system driven by reuse and derivation
  23. 23. Questions?
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