Accessible user interfaces
The term accessible is used to refer to software that has been designed so
that people who have disabilities have a successful interaction with it.
Accessible software takes many different kinds of disabilities into account:
- visual - people with color blindness, low vision, or who are completely
- audio - people who are hard of hearing or are completely deaf
- mobility - people who have physical impairments that limit their movement
and fine motor controls
- cognitive - people who have learning disabilities and may need more
consistency or simplicity in their interfaces
Assistive technology is equipment or software that is used to increase
the accessibility of existing operating systems and applications. While it
is beyond the scope of this programmer's guide to cover the broad scope of
assistive technologies, it is important for you to know that they exist.
Why? Because simple things you can do when programming your software or
documentation, such as providing alternate text descriptions for images in your HTML, or
keyboard equivalents for all of your software actions, can greatly improve the
effectiveness of assistive technologies that make use of these techniques.
There are some basic coding tips you can use when building plug-in user
interfaces that will increase the accessibility of your software. See
Tipsfor Making User Interfaces More Accessible for more information.
IBM's Accessibility Center
Website has many useful resources for accessibility, including
and checklists for developing software and web interfaces.
SWT and accessibility
Because SWT uses the operating system's native widgets, user interfaces built
with SWT will inherit any assistive technologies that have been installed on the
host operating system. SWT implements an interface,
which provides basic accessibility information, such as descriptions of
controls, help text, and keyboard shortcuts, to clients. If you are
developing assistive technologies that need more information or want to improve
upon the basic accessibiliity of the workbench, you can add your own listeners
and override the default accessibility behavior in the platform. See the
for more detail.