Ubuntu 12.04 Accessibility Plans

Accessibility is a core value for Ubuntu and we have a wonderful Ubuntu Accessibility Team who are passionate about making Ubuntu a truly accessible platform for everyone.

Recently the team have been putting the finishing touches on their plans for the 12.04 cycle and I just wanted to highlight some these plans and encourage those of you who are interested to get involved.

Many thanks to Penelope Stowe for providing much of the content for this blog entry and to Alan Bell for reviewing it to ensure it is comprehensive and reflects the team well.

12.04 Plans

The accessibility plans for 12.04 cycle can be broken into four main areas:

  1. Testing
  2. Development
  3. General Community Work
  4. Kubuntu

Since this is a LTS release the team is focusing on polishing and resolving issues that have caused problems for users with accessibility needs in the last few releases.


The primary goals with testing this cycle are to make it easier for users without accessibility needs to test accessibility features. Since there are no major feature changes planned for 12.04, this cycle should be slightly easier than it’s been in the past where test cases have had to change monthly, if not weekly, as features changed, were added, and things broke. Penelope is also working with Charline on the Design Team to try to get some usability testing of the accessibility features of Ubuntu.

See the blueprint.


Most of the development work being done for 12.04 is around polish and fit and finish, however there is one important feature that needs to be added: screen magnification. At the very least there are plans in place to get screen magnification into Unity 2D, but the team is hoping to be able to work with the Desktop Experience team to get it into Unity 3D as well.

See the blueprint.


The community focus in this cycle will be in cleaning up documentation, trying to gain more community involvement, and researching how Ubuntu accessibility can better serve people with learning disabilities/differences including ADHD, autism, dyslexia (just to name a few). Inspired by the other development summaries, the Accessibility Team will be aiming to write monthly blogs summarizing bite-sized bugs to try to attract more developer support, as well as blogging more about the current activities (both development and community) throughout the cycle.

See the blueprint.


The Kubuntu team is going to work to integrate more accessibility into their desktop. This will include improving the qt-at-spi integration with at-spi2, reviewing applications to see which are accessible, and packaging Simon Listens. They also plan on working with the upstream KDE Accessibility team to try to update documentation of what’s available.

See the blueprint.

Getting Involved

The Accessibility Team are always looking for help and support from developers, testers, documentation writers, wiki gardeners and more.

You can get in touch with them in a few different ways:

Also see their:

You can also keep up to date with the progress on these projects with their burndown chart.

Many thanks to Penelope Stowe, Alan Bell, Charlie Kravetz, Mackenzie Morgan, Luke Yelavich, Frederick Gladhorn and the other members of the team for their wonderful contributions to making Ubuntu more accessible.

  • https://launchpad.net/~laudeci Laudeci Oliveira

    take a look at this http://www.linuxacessivel.org/2010/12/01/news-of-linuxacessivel-org-project/

  • http://www.nota-bene.org/ Stephane Deschamps


    I had too many problems with 11.10 (long story short, but mainly instability: even gedit wouldn’t launch properly) and scraped it, then reinstalled 11.04.

    And I had never tested everything Compiz offered in Gnome 2, including… screen magnification!

    Maybe the team could draw code from Compiz, since it’s all OpenGL these days?

  • Anonymous

    the most promising screen magnification technology is compiz enhanced zoom, but we want more features, we want it to zoom the unity interface (the NUX stuff doesn’t get affected by compiz transforms) and we want it to pan and track the text cursor position rather than just the mouse position.

  • Anonymous

    yeah, I can see why people do specific respins that just work, however it would be even more awesome to fold those improvements back in to the default distro.

  • Anonymous

    Why would people with autism or ADHD have difficulties with using Ubuntu?

  • Penelope Stowe

    We’re not necessarily saying they would have problems using Ubuntu, but we’d like to think about things that will make it easier. For example, there was a request for a program that would interrupt a user and remind them what task they’re supposed to be doing at a given time (not just once when the task is supposed to start, but repeatedly to remind them to stay on task). Another issue that has come up is people finding the icons in Unity difficult to understand/differentiate between.

  • Res09p6u

    don’t like unity

  • Anonymous

    Well if changes like that are to be made, are they going to be considered for Kubuntu also or just Unity?

  • Anonymous

    Off topic. Broken record.

  • http://www.allaspectsuk.co.uk/location/west-midlands/wolverhampton/pest-control.asp Jona

    This is a great content.This guide is provided for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.This is an amazing.Thanks to share.I will keep share in future.