The Accessibility Tools Framework (ACTF)

Posted on Wednesday, 5 December 2007 by Steve Faulkner

IBM announced today (4th, December, 2007)Â the contribution of its Accessibility Tools Framework (ACTF)Â to the Eclipse Foundation, an open source community focused on developing a universal platform of frameworks and exemplary tools. The ACTF project will be lead by Chieko Asakawa (IBM) and Mike Paciello (The Paciello Group).

The Accessibility Tools Framework is a collection of tools and building blocks developed by IBM. By using the framework, developers can create accessibilitytools and applications easily and cost effectively, as they no longer need to spend time creating a tool or an application from scratch. With the reusable accessibility technology components of ACTF, and the standardized design and application programming interfaces the framework offers, developers can quickly and easily build various accessibility tools, such as an accessibility validation tool or a usability visualization tool.

ACTF will allow developers to build and use various types of accessibility tools, such as those for accessibility compliance validation, usability visualization, and alternative accessible interfaces for persons with disabilities. These tools will be integrated into a single, comprehensive accessibility tooling environment as part of the Eclipse platform. Initially, ACTF will support content based on HTML, OpenDocument Format (ODF), Flash, Java application graphical user interfaces such as Java Swing and Eclipse SWT, and accessibility APIs such as Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) and IAccessible2 to provide unified accessibility to Web content and applications.

Initial supporters of this initiative include:

  • Adobe Systems Incorporated (USA)
  • BrailleNet (France)
  • Center for Mathematics and Computer Science (Netherlands)
  • International Webmasters Association/HTML Writers Guild (U.S.A.)
  • Japan Braille Library (Japan)
  • Mozilla foundation (U.S.A.)
  • The Paciello Group (U.S.A.)
  • Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) (U.K.)
  • Technosite (ONCE Foundation) (Spain)
  • University of Toronto (Canada)
  • The Web Accessibility Tools Consortium

Further Reading:

About Steve Faulkner

Steve is the Technical Director at TPG. He joined The Paciello Group in 2006 and was previously a Senior Web Accessibility Consultant at vision australia. He is the creator and lead developer of the Web Accessibility Toolbar accessibility testing tool. Steve is a member of several groups, including the W3C Web Platforms Working Group and the W3C ARIA Working Group. He is an editor of several specifications at the W3C including HTML 5.1, ARIA in HTML, Notes on Using ARIA in HTML and HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text alternatives. He also develops and maintains HTML5accessibility.

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