Category:Developer Space

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The GPII Developer Space

The Developer Space is live at http://ds.gpii.net

Prosperity4All is working with and building on the architectural and technical foundations of other GPII projects, including Cloud4All, Fluid, and more. Its emphasis is on producing the tools, services, and economic models that will enable the next generation of affordable assistive technology and personalized information and communications technology.

With this goal in mind, the Prosperity4All Developer Space will provide a comprehensive set of resources, tools, and open community infrastructure to help implementer find and use components and frameworks that have been built with personalized accessibility in mind.

Today, accessibility is often seen as a "black art" by most developers—understood only by a few experts, fraught with subtle design and legal issues, and generally difficult for the uninitiated to get into. It is often challenging to find out which development tools have been built with inclusion in mind, and then how to best use them to their full potential.

More importantly, too much time and effort has been spent reinventing the wheel due to poorly designed or inflexible components and tools. Today's software workflow often finds implementers using off the shelf components that were designed for a single purpose, usually without accessibility in mind. Although this initially appears to save time and effort, implementers usually end up rewriting or replacing these components once their limitations become fully apparent.

Instead, implementers need to be able to draw from a pool of reliable, tested, and inherently adaptable user interface components, development frameworks, and debugging and design tools.

As software development continues to evolve into a new era of cross-device ubiquitous computing, including physical sensors, cameras, computer vision, and alternative control mechanisms, there is an incredible opportunity to produce novel new assistive technologies at a lower cost—assuming, that is, that there are good-quality, "born accessible" building blocks to start from.

Overview of the DeveloperSpace

Overview of all the parts of the GPII DeveloperSpace 


Supporting the Whole Software Lifecycle

The Prosperity4All Developer Space will, where possible, support implementers pro-actively in finding, using, and contributing to inclusive software development. Recognizing that tools alone will not produce better software, and that good software is a blend of technology, design, and knowledge, the Developer Space will also provide community resources and documentation that will help foster the adoption of accessible and flexible components.

In the Prosperity4All project we are currently still distinguishing two broad perspectives (that a person/vendor can both take and that may change or be extended over time within the project):

  • the "implementer", that is a consumer of resources documentation, implementing both personalized mainstream and AT products/solutions for end users, looking/demanding for new/better/more fitting components and documenting/commenting on
  • the "developer", that is providing and advertising his (or other's) reusable components, tools, frameworks, documentation or ideas, that can be helpful for improving accessibility (and thus often general usability) of digital(ized) products

Inclusion has to be an integral part of the whole development lifecycle. Once an implementer has selected a framework and set of components, there continues to be a need for visualization, testing, and debugging tools that can support the process of building flexible applications. The Prosperity4All Developer Space will support the creation and use of such tools. It will be the virtual place on the big accessiblity market square where consumer, providers and prosumers of any kind of developer resources meet (professionals and semi-professional), that lively pictures the current demand and supply across many accessibility relevant areas.

Get Involved

  • There is an <a href="http://lists.gpii.net/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/dspace">open mailing list for discussing the Developer Space</a>.
  • Other forums such as the GPII issue tracker, wiki and IRC are also used.
  • Everyone is welcome to get involved, contribute tools, components, and advice, and to help shape the Developer Space.
  • <a _fcknotitle="true" href="Setting%20Up%20Your%20Development%20Environment">Setting Up Your Development Environment</a>.


Overview:

Developer Space is one of the main functions of the Prosperity 4 All platform.

To better understand the potential capabilities and features of this space, the following user personae are going to be created and their potential interactions with the space will be investigated through several use cases.

   A developer with prior knowledge/ experience of inclusive design who wants to build an AT
 A developer with no prior knowledge about accessibility/ inclusive design who wants to make his apps accessible
 A consumer who is looking to learn about inclusive design and build accessibility skills
 A consumer with an unmet need who enters the space to address his need

Use Case Scenario: Daniel, Software Developer Work in progress

Summary:

  User has Idea to create a special text-to-speech plugin for a chess game
 Discovers resources on D-Space
 Following the new lead, he discovers other useful resources
 User creates a blog post about his experience, and starts a new github repo.
 Comes back to D-Space and "upvotes" the original content and a adds some tags
 Creates a new posting in D-Space for his new chess text-to-speech plugin.

Daniel is a technology enthusiast and a web developer. He begins each day with a nice cup of tea, and catches up with the latest blog posts, Reddit threads, and popular technology websites. After spending some time doing this, Daniel would create a new post on his blog summarizing what he had read. Once that is done, Daniel gets ready to take the public transit to work. Although his office is not too far, It takes Daniel a little longer to get to work because navigating the accessible ramps and pathways during the winter can be a little tricky. By the time he gets home in the evening, he's usually fairly tired. To unwind, Daniel likes to play online games on the web to relax after eating dinner.

One night while playing chess online before bed, Daniel began to have a hard time focusing on the screen. He can see that pieces were moving on the board, but it took extra effort to recall exactly which piece was moving, and required extra concentration to perceive and process the state of the game board. Daniel has thought about getting a screen reader, but his experiences with them have been spotty, and his vision is usually fine except for the odd occasion when he's fatigued. Frustrated, Daniel forfeits the game and heads to bed. As he drifts to sleep, Daniel wonders if it's possible to create a browser plug-in that reads back the moves on the chessboard using some sort of text-to-speech.

The next morning instead of his usual routine of catching up on technology news, Daniel starts to Google web based text-to-speech and comes across a posting in the Prosperity for All Developer Space. The posting on D-Space described how text-to-speech can be done using the Web Speech API and how it can be used to create self-voicing elements on a web page. On the same page, he can see other postings that there are related postings such as how to use a screen reader for testing, articles on using WAI-ARIA, and even job postings. From the navigation he can see he can jump to other categories, post comments to postings, and create his own posting. Daniel makes a bookmark so he can come back to this later.

Following the resource at D-space to the Web Speech API at the W3C, Daniel expands his search terms in Google and comes across a discussion thread on Stack Overflow and some example code on JS Fiddle. With these resources, Daniel is getting a better understanding of how this technology works and how he may go about building his own specialized text-to-speech plug-in.

Eager to get started, Daniel goes to Github and starts a new repository for his chess screen reader. Daniel then goes to his blog and writes a new blog post about his plans for creating a screen reader for chess, puts a link to his github repository, and lists the resources he's found, including P4A's Developer Space. After finishing the post to his blog, Daniel remembers the bookmark he saved and goes back to the Developer Space. Finding the posting about the Web Speech API, he gives it a "Thumbs-up" and adds some additional keyword tags to help others find the content more easily.

Daniel then selects the "Create posting" button and pastes a link to his recent blog post. He gives a brief description of the blog post and a link to his github repository, and adds tags to help get his posting placed on the site.

<add something about interactions?>


Use Case Scenario: Grace, Web and product designer

Summary:

   - User is tasked to make corporate website more accessible
  - She is quickly overwhelmed by the information
  - Looks to hire someone to do the work
  - Comes across Prosperity for All
  - Discovers a useful, practical guide on web accessibility which refines her understanding
  - Posts a question to D-Space
  - Posts a job on the Unified Listing

Grace is a web and product designer at company that manufactures and distributes soap and hand sanitizer equipment. Her company is planning to expand their business into the government and public sectors. Realizing that they need to improve their marketability to potential clients, the Sales and Marketing department have asked Grace to investigate how they can change their marketing materials to appeal to government agencies.

As Grace begins researching and comes across numerous articles about accessibility issues facing government websites. She quickly realizes a few things: their own website is not accessible, there is a lot of legislation, policies, and standards regarding accessibility, and she doesn't even know where to start!

Seeing how there is a budget for this work, Grace then searches "web accessibility contract jobs" and comes across Prosperity for All. On the web page shows a job posting seeking candidates to help convert office documents into a web accessible format. Arranged around the page are bits of other content that is related to her keywords like various projects offering accessibility products and services, and some technical programming documentation. One resource called "Low-Hanging Fruit: Web Accessibility" caught her eye. Based on its description and keywords, the resource seemed applicable to her situation: little knowledge, and practical examples with solutions.

Grace reads through the guide and quickly develops a better understanding of the concepts and philosophy of web accessibility and inclusive design in general. With the help of the examples, she identifies some key areas where they can improve accessibility namely changing the Flash videos on the website, and improve their current use of interactive scripts.

She sees that others have been asking accessibility related questions in the developer's section (called D-Space), so Grace decides to seek help there regarding the Javascript her company is using. She provides a link to her company website as well as some code snippets.

While waiting for responses, Grace begins creating a job posting seeking help to make the company's Flash video more accessible. She hopes that someone can help caption and transcribe the content, as well convert the video into a better format. As she is doing this, Grace gets some notifications to her posting in D-Space.

Grace finishes up the job posting and begins to read the responses to her posting in D-Space. She leans back in her chair rather content - it's not even noon and it seems like she's made a lot of progress already.

Use Case Scenario: Mali, Teacher Work in progress

Rough Outline:

  - Wants to create accessible assessments
 - Pointed to relevant resources and material through discussions in the Developer Space
 - Earns badges to become an expert in creating accessible assessments
 - Posts questions or clarify issues in the Developer Space
 - Advertises her services in the Unified Listing


Mali teaches geometry in a public high school in Vancouver. She usually has 20-25 students in her class every semester. Within this large group, there are always students who need specific accommodations to participate in mid term and final exams. This has made it very challenging for Mali to design a fair and valid assessment for the entire class that is also accessible for students with special needs. For example, last semester, she had a visually impaired student in her class. Although she had arranged a computer with screen reader in advance, she had forgotten to write specific scripts for the diagrams. Thus, some of the answers were revealed while the screen reader was describing a diagram in the test.

By doing a quick search, Mali finds out that designing accessible assessments is a big concern in the teachers’ community. So, she reaches out to some of her students with disabilities and invites them to a session to share their experiences with the current testing formats and their accompanied ATs. During the session, one of the students mentions a study about a screen reader plugin for pictorial questions done by a developer.

After the session, Mali searches the developer’s name and comes across a post on the P4All Developer’s space. On this post, several developers have been discussing the required features to build an accessible test. Some of those comments seem very technical to her. While scanning the comments, she finds very useful links and resources that developers have referred to, such as international standards, governmental guidelines, articles and research projects. She also notices that some of those links cross-reference a “Resources” section within the Developer’s space that includes a collection of tutorials, training materials, and badges that people can earn when complete a training component. In the “Resources”, she immediately notices the “Floe Inclusive Learning Handbook” and starts reading through this online booklet.

Having found these resources, Mali feels that there is a great opportunity to package this scattered information into something useful for educators like her, and help them build more accessible tests. To do so, she would like to learn more and gain some skills. She talks to her students about most common ATs used in exams and also goes back to the Developer’s space to post a question regarding the required training modules for her purpose. Developers start compiling a list of relevant components for her within or outside of P4All as well as sharing useful links. Mali gradually starts learning about ATs used in educational settings, completing the suggested components and earning badges.

Later on, when she feels confident about what she has learned, she begins offering her consulting services through the Unified listing and some other open education platforms. Although she has built a solid foundation in the area of accessible assessments, she always goes back to the Developer Space to ask questions, clarify issues, share new sources, or participate in relevant conversations.



Use Case Scenario: Arlie, Artist Work in progress

Rough Outline:

  - Wants to create AT application for herself
 - Has many questions, not sure where to start
 - Browses the Unified Listing but doesn’t know who she should contact
 - Goes to the Developer Space to ask questions and potentially find collaborators
 - Uses resources such as discussions and oatsoft.org
 - Collaborates with developers on DS to create application
 - Shows recognition to individuals who help through the D-Space

Arlie is a writer, illustrator and comic book artist. She is very social and active in her community. In her spare time she volunteers at a local bicycle co-op and works with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.

Two years ago, Arlie sustained a vocal injury and since then has only been able to speak for less than an hour a day. She has been exploring issues around voice, vocal injury and her slow recovery by creating a comics series about her experience. She has tried different ways of communicating with people around her, such as a white board and her cell phone, but most of the time she uses pen and paper.

Arlie wants to create a custom application for her tablet that would include an interactive communication board with images and a library of sound clips for common everyday interactions, as well as a notepad that she could use for conversations. She wants the application to be a useful tool, as well as an extension of her artwork, featuring her illustrations and sound bites of her voice.

She hears about P4A from a friend and decides to see if there are resources available to help her with the application. Looking through the Unified Listing, she finds many developers specializing in Assistive Technology but is not sure who to contact. She has lots of questions and wants to know how much time and effort her application will take to develop, how much it will cost, and to what extent she can be involved. She decides to look in the Developer Space for information. Browsing through the D-Space links and resources she comes across an open source assistive technology repository (oatsoft.org) that has some components she thinks might be useful, such as an augmentative communication device that allows users to prerecord voice messages, but she doesn’t know how to work with the component, isn’t sure the PC application will work on her tablet, and wants to know if she can integrate it with other functionalities. She starts a discussion thread, explaining what she wants out of the tool and asking for advice on how to start. Several people respond with information and advice and a few developers show interest in helping her with the application.

Arlie and two developers that she meets in the D-Space collaborate to create the application. They combine and modify components that they find through the D-Space. As they post discussions, make comments and engage with the community, members give contributors gold tokens as a sign of recognition for their involvement. Once project the application is complete, they make components of their work available in the D-Space. Arlie provides recognition to helpful members, threads and comments by giving feedback and gold tokens.