Just before my summer holiday, I received a mail from a guy, who wanted to talk to me about accessibility in OpenOffice.org. I actually didn't think much about it at that time, but after the holidays are over, I've been in contact with this guy a couple of times. He wanted to know if OpenOffice.org could be used with a screen reader. He is working as a consultant at The Danish Association of the Blinds (http://www.dkblind.dk/dab)
Well, I must confess, that I didn't know much about accessibility in OpenOffice.org before, except of cause all the keyboard shortcuts. So what could I do to prepare a meeting ? I contacted the appropriate project (http://ui.openoffice.org/accessibility) and asked for help. And within just a few hours, I received a basic overview of the project and how things works. This was the first positive thing today. Thank you guys !
I went to visit David in his own home today. I didn't know for sure, but i had a clue: he is blind. He showed me how he is using his computer just as easy as I do. I was really impressed by this first demonstration of what accessibility is about - wauw. This was the second positive experience today.
I helped him to install the appropriate software (Java Access Bridge) and change the configuration in OpenOffice.org (activate AT support in OpenOffice.org: Choose menu Tools/Options/Accessibility and check “Support assistive technology tools”.).
We talked about the perspective for blind people, if they can gain access to an office application for free. David will perform a basic test, and if needed, a list of issues. Then we will make a short description in Danish for others to use. And I hope to be able to provide the The Danish Association of the Blinds with a special CD-image soon, that includes OpenOffice.org and the appropriate supplemental software pre-installed.
When I came home, I found that several other community members had joined the discussion and provided me with lots of further information about blind people, accessibility in general and perspectives in OpenOffice.org. Again a positive experience.
So, all together: It's been a good day !
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