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Planning Council/Cross Project Teams/Accessibility

Accessibility Team


Tammy Cornell, IBM
Kentarou Fukuda, ACTF Project
Neil Hauge, Oracle
Kaloyan Raev, SAP
Oliver Keim, SAP

Statement of Problem

Currently, many Eclipse Members have a business need to make sure software they consume from Eclipse meets certain Accessibility requirements. Besides just being a nice thing to do, it is often required to "prove" software is accessibility, in order to sell to certain markets or bid on certain contracts.

The "proof" often comes in the form of conducting certain tests and checks and completing a checklist, for long term documentation of what was done to ensure the software is accessible.

Currently, many Eclipse members have their own process and checklists for this accessibility work, but it would be simpler if there was one "Eclipse Accessibility Checklist" which would set the expectation for all Eclipse Projects ... at least all Eclipse Projects participating in the yearly, simultaneous release. And, of course, this "required item" for the yearly release can not be too burdensome for the Eclipse projects.

Our "required" item for Galileo simultaneous release was a 'should do' item, and stated as simply as "... should design and test for accessibility". So another way to state the problem, is whether or not there is a stronger requirement that would lead to a stronger, more demonstrable or measured statement about accessibility compliance.

Meetings and Notes

Meeting 10/15 9:00am US EDT Attendees: Tammy, Neil, Kentarou & Kaloyan

  • reviewed the goal of this project
  • discussed which Accessibility standards each company is following, confirmed that all (involved in this meeting) are using the US Section 508.
  • Kentarou provided an overview of the incubator ACTF project:
  • The ACTF project needs to be enhanced more before it can be widely adopted by Eclipse projects. Currently does not provide tooling for SWT. It currently supports html, flash content, similar function as inspect32... Helios timeframe is to short to build in the additional function.
  • For a short term solution we believe it would be valuable to update the Accessibility guidance located at This document was originally created by Tod Creasey in IBM, Tammy will contact Tod to see about getting this webpage updated.
  • Confirmed that each team is using the Software, Web & Documentation checklists. Tammy will work on getting a copy of these checklists to possibly include in the 'Should do'/guidelines section of the release train/ emphasize/recommended .
  • Kaloyan is trying to locate an Accessibility rep to join him on the team
  • Will most likely break this up into two parts: short term/Helios: update guidance documentation and provide stripped down checklists. long term goal: provide tools (possibly ACTF) to automate Accessibility checking during development.
  • will meet again on 10/20 9:00am US EDT

Meeting 10/20 9:00am US EDT Attendees: Tammy & Kentarou

  • Tammy confirmed that the following webpage will be updated by 11/30
  • Need someone to review the accessibility checklists located here to see if they can be trimmed down/reduced:
  • Tammy is verifying if the above checklists can be used on the Eclipse website.
  • Kentarou supplied an ACTF presentation that Tammy will distribute to this team
  • Kentarou will hold a meeting this week with some of the other resources working on ACTF to see what they plan to accomplish in the upcoming months. Kentarou mentioned that this project could use some additional resources/active committers.
  • May expand Accessibility guidelines webpage to contain basic testing instructions and possibly a link to an open source screen reader (NVDA)
  • Will try to handle actions via email this week and schedule our next meeting for 10/27.

Meeting 10/27 9:00am US EDT Attendees: Tammy, Neil & Kentarou

  • the Accessibility checklists located here: can not be reproduced on the Eclipse website, if we use them we will need to provide a link back to the IBM public website to reference them. ACTION ITEM: The other accessibility cross project team members will research and see if they can come up with something more generic that can be stored on
  • will suggest an Accessibility Verification milestone be added to the release train schedule (possibly around the API Freeze)so release train projects will be reminded to do a first pass accessibility check that is early enough so they have time to react to any accessibility


  • Neil will draft a recommendation (proposal is due 11/4/09). Will review recommendation in the next meeting on 10/29.
  • Kentarou is meeting with the ACTF team tomorrow and will have an update/outlook for us in the next meeting.

Notes from Kentarou: Here are the URLs of other accessibility resources on Eclipse. 1. Tips for making user interfaces accessible 2. Accessibility features in Eclipse 3. Accessibility check list example (Eclipse SDK 3.2, 3.3) it might be a good reference for other projects to create their own check list. Item 1 above and this article ( will be a good reference documentation (and starting point) for Eclipse developers. We should break down the software accessibility check list into work items suitable for Eclipse. However, it will be a middle/long term work.

Meeting 10/29 9:00am US EDT Attendees: Neil & Kentarou

  • Kentarou talked to ACTF team. Communicated that resources are currently limited. The team's current focus is to provide an inspection tool that can verify accessibility for platform UI development (based on MSAA usage).
  • The ACTF team would like to do more, but it's not clear whether they will be able to provide the general automated testing tool for Eclipse given current resource constraints.
  • Kentarou recommended adding an open issue for the need to find more resources for the ACTF project in the Eclipse community. Also suggested removing dependency on the ACTF tooling from the long term requirement, and add the presence of a checklist. Neil will make these changes to the proposal.
  • On the topic of the Accessibility Checklist
    • We should be able to draft something like the IBM checklist, creating it ourselves if necessary
    • We can probably finalize the checklist after the recommendation deadline since time is running out
    • Kentarou and Neil will continue to look for accessibility content for the checklist

Meeting 11/3 9:00am US EST Attendees: Neil, Kentarou, Kaloyan & Tammy

  • Kentarou - we should also focus on web accessibility which will be used with projects such as e4. Add WCAG to the guidelines.
  • Kentarou - make sure the proposal explains that the platform focus for now will be with Windows and that other platforms may need to be considered in the future.
  • Tammy - will add pointers to the generic checklists/guidelines provided by the .gov sites.
  • Kaloyan will have Oliver review the recommedation and also look into a set of generic checklists that could possibly be used on the Eclipse website.
  • all agree that until this is automated more, that we will recommend it be on the "should do" list.
  • Tammy will make a couple of updates to recommendation and then send it around to the cross-project team for final review. Will submit proposal later this week.

Recommendation to Planning Council

Status: Submitted 11/5

Open Issues:

  • Need testing to determine if we can recommend GNU licensed NVDA open source screen reader. One current barrier for project testing is having to buy a license for the predominant screen reader software. Other short term options might include accessibility test tools such as AccChecker and UIA Verify.
  • The ACTF project is in need of more resources to pursue longer term goals of automated accessibility testing for Eclipse. We need to look for possible contributors in the Eclipse community.


Accessibility is a key requirement for many Eclipse adopters based on business, legal, and ethical grounds. Accessibility is also an important requirement for disabled end-users of Eclipse. Accessibility has previously been on the "Should do" list with one line of information describing the release train requirements. Building on this foundation in the short-term (Helios), we propose:

  1. The requirement for accessibility remain in the "Should do" or "Good citizen" category, with the thought of moving this to the "Required" category in the future.
    1. Accessibility testing is not something that can be easily automated using Eclipse tools (for now) and testing may require purchase of screen reader software.
  2. The main accessibility article at Eclipse Corner should be made current (Todd Creasey has prepared an update for this page: and encourage all projects to follow the design guidelines contained within. These guidelines will be expanded to include basic verification instructions and links to open source Accessibility tools that can be leveraged such as NVDA:
    1. This article is the basis for accessibility design at Eclipse. Projects should use this article as a way to ensure accessibility in their plugins.
  3. Projects should document responses to a consolidated accessibility checklist as a part of the release artifacts. Checklist reference materials:,,
    1. M6 should be listed as the recommended milestone for completing initial accessibility testing to insure that there is time to address any issues found.
    2. Initial platform focus should be Windows.

In the long-term we propose:

  1. The ACTF project should be used to automate accessibility testing for train projects within Eclipse.
  2. The accessibility requirement should be moved to the "Required" list or at least re-evaluated after Helios based on the status of open source accessibility testing tools.

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