Accessibility in KDE and Qt is constantly improving. Sometimes a change of scenery helps focusing and brings up productivity. Mix that with a bunch of great people and good things will start happening. It has been possible to create accessible Qt applications on Linux for a while, but of course not everything will just work out of the box untested. A while back Mario asked me to join this year’s Randa Meeting where KDE people discuss and fix issues. It turns out that was a great idea. I haven’t been able to focus much on applications and user experience lately, but with this backdrop it works 😉
Upon arrival I sat down with Marco and David of Plasma fame and we quickly got Orca (the screen reader on Linux) working on their laptops. We discussed what is wrong and where improvements would be most needed for blind users to use the Plasma desktop, we got to work and had the first fixes even before lunch, wow. Adding a few accessibility hints and poking hard at keyboard navigation got us much further.
This means that KRunner – Plasma Desktop’s app launcher – is now much more accessible, a great enabler. There’s more work going into the menu and panel, hopefully we’ll see much improved keyboard usability for these by the end of the week. It’s good to see how Qt accessibility works nicely with Qt Quick.
In the afternoon, we had a round of introductions and talks. For accessibility some key points were:
– Don’t do custom stuff if you can avoid it. This includes colors and fonts, but also focus handling.
– Try running your application with keyboard only. And then mouse only.
– Make sure that focus handling actually works, then test with a screen reader.
– Oh, and focus handling. Check the order of your tab focus chain (in Qt Designer or by running your Qt Quick application. While I’ve lately become a big fan of the Qt Quick Designer, I don’t think it allows to detect all corner cases when it comes to tab key handling yet.)
– I should write and talk more about FocusScope, one our our best and most confusing one bit friends in Qt Quick.
I sat down to poke at the systemsettings module, making it easier to debug and a bit more reliable. This morning I sat down with Ade to poke at …read more