Ubuntu aims at making the operating system, and its derivatives, usable by as many people as possible across ages, languages and physical abilities. This includes providing an accessible platform with high quality assistive tools, and ensuring that other applications work well with these. The assistive tools on Ubuntu, along with the entire operating system, are provided free of charge.

Visual Impairments

Screen Reader

  • Orca is a screen reading software suitable for visually impaired and blind users.

Orca is a free, open source, flexible, extensible, and powerful assistive technology for people with visual impairments. Using various combinations of speech synthesis and Braille, Orca helps provide access to applications and toolkits that support the AT-SPI (e.g. the GNOME desktop and Unity). The development of Orca has been led by the Accessibility Program Office of Sun Microsystems, Inc. with contributions from many community members.

Starting Orca on an Ubuntu installation

for just one session

If you have Ubuntu installed, you can run Orca by pressing the super key on your keyboard, typing orca and then pressing Enter.

permanently

  • press super type gnome-control-center and then press enter select "universal access" select the checkbox labeled "screen reader"

Starting Orca on the Live CD

download and burn the Ubuntu ISO boot from it wait until you hear a sound from your sound card. This may take several minutes on a CD drive. press CTRL+s Within a few minutes, Ubuntu will be loaded with Orca running and you will hear a greeting such as "Welcome to orca. Orca screen reader frame. Preferences push button". Press space to activate the preferences dialog.

Now, the graphical desktop is up and running, Orca is active, and the Orca Preferences dialog has focus. The Orca Preferences dialog is a multi-page dialog that allows you to configure your settings. These settings will be copied to your new system during installation, so you should get them right. When done, press alt+tab to switch to ubiquity and press the "install" button to begin the installation process.

using orca with the Unity desktop

launching apps

by search(quickest)

The simplest way to use orca with unity to launch apps is using a feature of unity called the dash. To activate the dash, press the super key on your keyboard. Orca will say "unity dash window, entry". At this point, you may enter the name of the application to launch(I.E. firefox, thunderbird, or gnome-control-center).

by list(slower)

If you don't exactly know the name of the app to launch, you may press alt+f1 to get a menu of applications. Use the up and down arrow keys to navigate and enter to select. When an application is open, it will temporarily be listed on this menu. To lock it to the menu so it stays there even when the app is closed, press alt+f1, find the app, perform a right click operation, and select "lock to launcher".

switching between apps

method 1

Hold down alt. Then, press tab. Orca will say, "switcher window, name of app push button". When you hear the name of the app you want to switch to, release the ALT key. If you want to switch to a different app press the tab key again.

method 2

press alt+f1 for a menu of both locked and running apps. When you find the app you wish to switch to, press enter and the app will be focused.

To activate functions of an application, press the left ALT key. Orca will say "hud window, entry". At this point, enter the name of the option you wish to get to(I.E. preferences) and then press enter to launch the function.

to navigate the panel menus and access network settings, volume, battery status, etc, press alt+f10. Use the left and right arrow keys to switch panels and up and down arrows to navigate the selected panel.

using orca with gnome

installing gnome

To install gnome, run the following commands as root(I.E. sudo -i or su - ) add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3 ; apt-get update ; apt-get install gnome

starting Gnome

You will have a gnome session listed on your display manager's session list. Select this session and log in. If you use a ~/.xinitrc file, place this line, and only this line in that file : exec gnome-session

launching apps

The simplest way to use orca with gnome to launch apps is using a feature of gnome called the activities overview. To activate the activities overview, press the super key on your keyboard. Orca will say "overview panel". At this point, you may enter the name of the application to launch(I.E. firefox, thunderbird, or gnome-control-center).

switching between apps

Hold down alt. Then, press tab. Orca will say, "name of app push button". When you hear the name of the app you want to switch to, release the ALT key. If you want to switch to a different app press the tab key again.

The gnome panel contains things such as network connection, battery state, open apps, accessibility options and more. To switch from your application to one of the panels, press control+alt+tab. To move between the menus of a panel, press tab and shift+tab. To move through menus of a panel, use the arrow keys.

using orca on a system with little resources

Luke Yelavich pointed out that we need to also support systems without 3d graphics or lots of RAM. Here is my attempt at doing so :

unity 2D

If your version of Ubuntu is less than 12.10, you will have a session called "ubuntu 2d". Use your display manager to switch your session to this one for a faster unity experience on systems that don't support 3d graphics.

gnome session fallback(12.10 quantal and below)

Run the following command in a terminal or virtual console : sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback Answer yes when prompted to install the packages. Then, select the new "gnome classic" option from the sessions list of your display manager, or if you use a .xinitrc file, put this line and only this line in it : exec gnome-session-fallback If you are familiar with gnome 2 then you should have no problems navigating this interface, if not, here's a modified version of the gnome 3 instructions :

launching apps

App launching is quite simple. To launch apps, press alt+f1 and use up and down arrow keys to navigate the menu of app categories. When you find one of interest, press the right arrow key to expand it's applications. To launch an application, press the enter key.

switching between apps

Hold down alt. Then, press tab. Orca will say, "name of app". When you hear the name of the app you want to switch to, release the ALT key. If you want to switch to a different app press the tab key again.

The gnome panel contains things such as network connection, battery state, open apps, accessibility options and more. To switch from your application to one of the panels, press control+alt+tab. To move between the menus of a panel, press tab and shift+tab. To move through menus of a panel, use the arrow keys.

High Contrast

Ubuntu ships with a selection of high contrast themes, complete with custom icons and mouse cursors.

To activate a new theme, press the super key on your keyboard and type "gnome-control-center" without the quotes. Press enter to activate the Gnome control center, and then click appearance.

Mobility Impairments

Keyboard Modifiers

The GNOME desktop environment supports several options for modifying the behavior of the mouse and keyboard. The modifier keys (Shift, Ctrl and Alt) can be made Sticky so that when they are pressed once they remain active until the next key is pressed, making it possible to write upper case characters or use keyboard shortcuts while only pressing one key at a time.

Other features include Slow Keys and Bounce Keys, which control the reaction rate and repeat rate of keys, and Mouse Keys, which allow the numeric keypad to be used to control the mouse cursor. In GNOME, these features can be activated on the Keyboard Accessibility panel (from the gnome control center, which can be accessed by pressing the super key on your keyboard, typing "gnome-control-center" without the quotes, and then pressing enter. In Xubuntu: Applications Menu -> Settings -> Settings Manager -> Accessibility -> Mouse tab -> check Use mouse emulation checkbox

On-screen Keyboard

Ubuntu includes the onBoard on-screen keyboard, a lightweight text-entry application, extensible through macros, scripts and custom layouts.

Also available is Gnome On-screen Keyboard (GOK) which, in addition to basic text entry, also provides facilities for controlling the entire desktop behavior through the on-screen keyboard by gathering information about other applications and sending them control signals through the GNOME assistive technology framework AT-SPI.

MouseTrap

MouseTrap makes computers accessible for people with physical impairments.

Mousetweaks

For users that cannot click with a hardware button, there is an utility named Mousetweaks that enables them to perform the various clicks by software.

Mousetweaks offers the following new features to the user:

  • Systemwide software click, usually called dwelling
  • Systemwide simulated right click through a click and hold of the left button (of course, for left-handed mouse users, the terms left and right have to be inverted)
  • An area on the panel to temporarily lock the pointer (provided by a panel applet) It uses image processing to translate the user's head movements into mouse events (movements and clicks) which allow users to interact with the different desktops managers and applications.

Dasher

Dasher provides an intuitive way to enter text without using the computer keyboard. It uses the head-mouse or eyetracker.

Voice Recognition

It is possible to control applications using voice commands. Julius speech recognition engine can be used to recognize voice commands and execute pre-set commands. Here is simple tutorial to get you started.

At the recent UDS 2009, a proposal for Voice Driven User Interfaces was discussed.

Also gnome-voice-control install and add to panel. For getting it better submit your voice to free GPL speech corpora http://voxforge.org Also theres voximp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_recognition_in_Linux

Name

Using Voxforge

Preinstalled Commands

Customizable

Settings

Language support

gnome-voice-control

(./)

(./)

(X)

(X)

?

voximp

(./)

(./)

(X)

(X)

?

Julius

(./)

Manually

(X)

(X)

(./)

Simon Listens

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

Cmu Sphinx

Activating preinstalled tools

If you install the Ubuntu system after booting the Ubuntu Desktop CD with an accessibility option as described above, those features will also be preconfigured to start by default on your newly installed system.

The most common accessibility tools such as Orca and onBoard are preinstalled on any standard Ubuntu system and are easy to activate. The screen reader, magnifier and on-screen keyboard are all activated using the Gnome Assistive Technology Preferences panel, Found in the System Menu under Preferences.

Using onboard and Mousetweaks at GDM

For users of Ubuntu 7.10 and above, it is possible to configure GDM so that onBoard and Mousetweaks are available during the GDM session.

This HowTo contains detailed explanations about how to configure GDM to make onBoard and Mousetweaks available and how to start them during the GDM session.

Resources

Accessibility (last edited 2013-02-19 22:58:28 by billkd)