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Open Research Frameworks

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Is there a preferred open research framework? There are many about such as the Eclipse Accessibility Tools Framework, Hearsay (and derivatives), WebAnywhere, and lower level components like AXSJAX. Let me expand on the first as it is the one I know best...


Page author(s): Simon Harper

Other contact(s): [if applicable, name of other RDWG participant(s) who have particular interest and/or expertise in this research topic]


Framework, Open Research, Accessible Tools.


[Description of the research topic and challenges]


ACTF is a framework that serves as an extensible infrastructure upon which researchers can build a variety of utilities that help to evaluate and enhance the accessibility of applications and content for people with disabilities. A collection of example utilities are also provided which were created on top of the framework such as compliance validation tools, assistive technology simulation applications, usability visualisation tools, unit-testing utilities, and alternative accessible interfaces for applications. The ACTF componentry and the utilities are integrated into a single tooling environment on top of the Eclipse framework. The framework components function cooperatively with each other and with other Eclipse projects to provide a comprehensive development environment for creating accessible applications and content - be they research or development, indeed, ACTF 0.8 M2 - includes experimental WCAG 2.0 support.

Most of the componentry has been donated by IBM Tokyo, and we have used the Visualisation SDK on the Manchester ViCRAM and EVIAA projects to name but too. The SDK is open source and can easily be used by accessibility researchers and developers alike. Why not try it? The Visualisation SDK includes two types of extensible visualisation engines (Blind usability visualisation engine and low-vision simulation engine) and several reusable view components. These components support providing a visual representation of the usability of content or applications for People with Disabilities (PwD). From this milestone release, major features of visualisation part, such as blind usability visualisation, low-vision simulation, Flash content inspection function, etc., can be used in Eclipse IDE by selecting each accessibility perspective.

It is obviously beneficial to use these tools, they can also be used to support new success criteria as exemplars in the intent documents of w3c recommendations, and a concerted maintained community effort is normally more useful than an individual solution.


  • Are open research frameworks useful?
  • If so which one?
  • How can we coordinate?
  • What will be the benefits?


[References to related works and activities]

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