Accessible collaboration tools

How do you collaborate?

Related Files

Digital Culture (Brazil)

  • a place for NGOs to share their cultures through audio, video etc.
  • sharing local culture
  • all free open source

Digital Infrastructure (Brazil)

  • open source system called GUIGO
  • java open source platform for social networks
  • produce knowledge collectively
  • document editing
  • upload files
  • communication - audio, text
  • share ideas - discussion lists, instant messaging


  • development groups are distributed
  • collaboration is very immature - using Jive
  • currently using telephone networking
  • using SharePoint
  • social networking is not well adopted and they aren't using open source
  • nothing is accessible in the frameworks currently
  • they have the accessibility knowledge but the platform is not accessible
  • video, chat, telecom solution doesn't exist in an enterprise solution


  • internally they use Lotus Notes and collaboration tools
  • distributed team around the world so collaboration is essential
  • challenge: awareness about accessibility
  • people build team rooms etc and don't take accessibility into account even though it is possible to do so
  • raising awareness and ensuring people follow accessibility rules

Peer to peer University

  • enabling learning outside institutions
  • thinking about how people communicate
  • wiki, blogs, voice, groups
  • how does communicating effect how learning happens
  • how to build communities quickly
  • building on Open Source solutions

Cross disability tele collaboration tools (Greg)


  • mailing lists
  • open philosophy - people are communicative
  • use and IRC channel that is logged
  • daily stand up meetings using Connect - web conferencing tool
  • every day there is a dance of 'can you hear us'?
  • screen sharing
  • Open source has an established way of working - email list, bug tracker, source code repository.
  • designers use skype, mailing list, irc also. One difference with design is that with development you can copy and paste code to talk about but with design there is equivalent.
  • communicating visual ideas is very difficult
  • skype screen sharing, ichat screen sharing including controlling the other computer but only works with apple machines
  • pair programming with different tools - iChat, Skype, instant messaging


  • reliability
  • sharing more then text
  • openness - lack of open source solutions
  • integration - all in one tools
  • tele-collaboration - video, audio, screen sharing
    issues: captioning a presenter - difficult to caption visuals and interactions such as pointing at a particular part of a board
  • techniques for handling multiple streams - audio, video, captions, chat
  • collaboration tools need to identify people needs
  • captioning while operating a collaboration tool
  • presentation formats are inaccessible and need to be converted
  • tools are needed for language translation
  • mobile devices have power issues - how do you do text conversion etc on them?
  • rich media and bandwidth issues
  • how do we have QOS without discrimination
  • need to make use of user preferences, mobile devices
  • ability to turn down or turn up audio streams


  • looking at caption correcting by people that are present
  • 'revoicing'
  • timewarp - freezes a live recording and moves back in time. You can then catch up later
  • live remote assistant - a single assistant could help many people instead of going to a lecture for a single question
  • these could be plug in services
  • could outsource to other countries
  • ARIA live regions in collaboration tools
  • Canvas and SVG
  • shadow document - ARIA support
  • longer term - exposing the accessibility APIs through javascript
  • Google has a tool to take an SVG document and convert it to Flash
  • touch and read & touch and explain
  • caption synced speaker identification
  • cross platform standard for accessibility
  • the browser can map to the accessibility APIs


  • a common open source, accessible base - includes security
  • build out modules from there
  • leverage the open web - HTML 5 for consumptions and production

Exercise: Roadmap a project that we could build to solve our biggest issues

Problem Statement

Build accessible open collaboration tools that are interoperable, modular and adaptable and support multiple streams of media.

  • interoperable
  • modular
  • adaptable
  • secure & private
  • "always on"
  • degrades gracefully
  • scales

The Vision

  • all the tools we need and use but accessible - e.g., Breeze is a rich channel for communication, but has poor accessibility.
  • simple to use
  • annotations (including rich annotations & text alternatives)
  • pacing and control of time
  • captioning
  • support for diversity - language, literacy, device and bandwidth
  • user testing remotely
  • simultaneous streams
  • built in support for real people
  • content - more then just text/audio/video
  • space (tools) - open, web, desktop
  • infrastructure - stable, secure, robust
  • standards and governance


  • text chat including real time
  • audio with enough resolution to be accessible
  • video with enough resolution to be accessible
  • text/ASL alternatives for audio, video and images
  • modular architecture and interoperable
  • secure and private
  • degrades gracefully
  • scales
  • archive with error correction


  • chat
  • real time chat
  • annotations
  • captioning
  • language (density/complexity, internationalization)
  • equivalents to audio/video
  • multiple editors


  • Quality
  • signal to noise
  • eliminate background noise
  • frequency range
  • frequency shifting
  • QOS
  • lag
  • multi-stream
  • spatial distributions of person speaking
  • audio descriptions and support for multiple streams


  • resolution and frame-rate for signing, lip-reading, finger spelling
  • bi-directional resolution and frame rate
  • manage multi-streams

Cross cutting

  • language
  • ASL
  • internationalization
  • simplification
  • equivalents to audio/video/text


  • turn-taking/hand-raising/cueing
  • user identification (e.g. who is the ID of the person speaking)
  • lag between modes
  • focus & zooming modes
  • common areas that support drifting in & hanging out
  • voting
  • private communication
  • idea catcher
  • multi-modal presentation
  • pacing and control of time - e.g. being able to jump back in time, or to slow the progression of time
  • notifications and errors
  • setup assistance
  • auto configuration & personal preferences


  • shared accessibility API access - cross platform
  • open down to the protocol level

Content, Space, & Infrastructure

  • content includes (at least) text, audio & video
  • space is the tools: open, Web, & desktop
  • infrastructure: stable, secure, & robust