[RCD] Roundcube and accessibility

Brendan brendan at tucows.com
Thu May 8 02:20:58 CEST 2014

On 14-05-07 04:51 PM, Paul Boddie wrote:
> I'll let people with stronger opinions about accessibility speak for
> themselves, but one thing I was told by someone with a far greater depth of
> knowledge and experience on this topic than me was that people with greater
> accessibility demands than those of the average user do actually want to use
> the same applications as everybody else, or at least many of them do.

that's quite interesting. i assumed that the number of people wanting to 
use the same applications would be small, as it would seem that 
something designed for the sighted would be difficult to navigate with a 
screen reader - i find using a browser with only a keyboard to be a 
frustrating experience, i can only imagine it could be moreso with a 
screen reader.

now that i write that, it occurs to me i was being a bit too black and 
white - there are a lot of levels between sighted and non-sighted; i was 
only thinking about one case (fully non-sighted). and overlooking the 
desire of people to fit in, which i don't have any personal experience 
in here.

> Another concern is that accessibility is used as an argument against Roundcube
> in cases of procurement, especially in public organisations. I briefly
> investigated this last year and found various things that might be improved,
> but at the same time it did seem like the various JavaScript libraries used by
> Roundcube do support various ARIA annotations. (I can dig out my list of
> findings, though.) I recently learned that various supposed accessibility
> deficiencies in Roundcube were eventually no longer a concern for one
> organisation whose procurement practices I had been tracking, but it appears
> that the uncertainty was sufficient to use as an excuse to migrate webmail
> (and indeed the entire e-mail infrastructure) to something else.
> Having a strong accessibility reputation would be beneficial for Roundcube not
> just because it would ensure the solution's usability for the maximum number
> of potential end-users, but also because it would undermine the kind of
> whisper campaign that somehow manages to get it disqualified in favour of all-
> in-one proprietary systems in organisations like the one mentioned above. Such
> disqualifications and exclusions undermine both Roundcube adoption - not nice
> if you prefer Roundcube to other webmail solutions - as well as Free Software
> and open standards adoption, ultimately threatening the viability of those
> things and of Roundcube itself.
> Sorry for the lengthy and slightly tangential response, but I strongly feel
> that sometimes the best way to counter the kind of misinformation that is
> spread when there is money to be made by aggressive proprietary software
> vendors - at the expense of great software like Roundcube (and often at the
> expense of users and taxpayers) - is to be able to demonstrate a robust and
> complete solution that can be shown to fully address all areas of potential
> concern. Accessibility is one of those areas.

not at all. you present an interesting and compelling case. this cleared 
up things for me, and hopefully for others as well.

i suppose even if there are better tools for an individual, an 
organization might still want to provide a tool that could be used 
(albeit perhaps less efficiently) by all just simply because it would 
make things easier to support.

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