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How well do OpenDocument applications address the needs of people with disabilities?

While OpenDocument v1.1 includes a number of specific improvements for accessibility, it's important to note that many of the concerns around accessibility have to do with the applications that implement the OpenDocument format.  This includes questions about the built-in features of OpenDocument applications that meet the needs of people with disabilities, and questions about how well OpenDocument applications work with specialized assistive technology applications used by people with more severe disabilities.

To improve support for assistive technologies on the Windows platform, IBM donated an extension to Microsoft's Active Accessibility API to the Free Standards Group (Now the Linux Foundation) which was designed to provide advanced access to office applications and expose  all the accessibility features of OpenDocument 1.1. This API, called IAccessible2, was designed with the help of Freedom Scientific and GW  Micro during its implemenation in support of OpenDocument v1.1 in the upcoming  Notes 8 Productivity Editors. Furthermore, IBM worked with assistive technology vendor Freedom Scientific to ensure their office suite implementation of the ODF 1.1 specification worked well with assistive technologies.

Also on Windows, the OpenDocument applications StarOffice and already work with the ZoomText screen magnifier from Ai Squared.

On the UNIX platform, StarOffice and already work very well with the open source UNIX assistive technologies.  This includes the Orca screen reader/magnifier used by people who are blind or have significant visual impairments, the GNOME On-screen Keyboard which provides rich support for people with a variety of physical impairments, and Dasher, and innovative alternate text entry system used by people who can move only their head or eyes. Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
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