14 February 2007

ODF 1.1 : True Accessibility

News that version 1.1 of the ODF standard has been approved by OASIS is hardly earth-shattering, but I thought this comment in the press release was significant:

OpenDocument 1.1 supports users who have low or no vision or who suffer from cognitive impairments. The standard not only provides short alternative descriptive text for document elements such as hyperlinks, drawing objects and image map hot spots, it also offers lengthy descriptions for the same objects should additional help be needed.

"We are thrilled with the progress to date," said Curtis Chong, president of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science. "Our views have changed over time. OpenDocument is no longer a thing to be feared, as we once thought. The OASIS process exemplifies what should be done if true accessibility to both a document format and the tools to manipulate it are to be achieved."

This address issues about ODF's accessibility for some users - something raised in certain quarters when trying to de-rail ODF's adoption by Massachusetts. Cross another "problem" off the list, please.

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