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Glossary of accessibility related expressions

This glossary contains explanations for words that are often used in the context of accessibility architectures.



Abbreviation for Accessibility.


A computer, an application or a web site is fully accessible if it can be used by all kind of different devices, including braille devices, screen readers, head point devices, special keyboards, buttons or mice, etc. The term accessibility is also more generally used to describe projects aiming at making computers fully accessible, or at offering computer software as a tool for dealing with physical handicaps.

Accessibility Aid

An accessibility aid is a feature, an application or a device that assists the user with dealing with a handicap. The term accessibility aid can be used as a synonym for Assistive Technology.

Accessibility Broker

Please look at AT-SPI.

Assistive Technology

An assistive technology is a technology that assists the user with dealing with a handicap. In the context of a computer this often is an application, but it might also be a braille display, etc.


Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines, released by the WAI as guidelines for the implementation of accessible web authoring tools.

Related internet site: Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines


Accessibility Toolkit. This is an interface for accessibility-relevant information. It is used in order to devide the toolkit dependent part of the accessibility implementation within the Gnome Accessibility Architecture from the IPC-dependent part.


Assistive Technology Service Provider Interface. This is a Corba based protocol for communication between accessible applications and assistive technologies. It was designed by the GAP, and it is likely to become the standard accessibility protocol on Unix systems. AT-SPI is designed to know about three different program types: AT-SPI aware applications, accessibility clients, and an accessibility broker. The AT-SPI aware applications register with the broker in order to offer their information. Clients may add event listeners to the broker, so that they get informed when accessibility related information in any application changes. Because of the relation to the AT-SPI protocol the accessibility broker is often called AT-SPI registry.



Dasher is a spatial oriented text input system that uses only a pointing-device (like a mouse or an eye tracker, for example) as an input method. In order to do so, the characters are displayed within boxes (one box for each character). By navigating into one box you select the corresponding character. Within that box other boxes are added for the second character and so forth.

Related internet site: Dasher home page



Free Desktop Accessibility Working Group. A mailing list for the discussion of the accessibility of free desktops.

Related internet sites: FDAWG home page



Gnome Accessibility Implementation Library. This library implements a bridge between the Gnome widgets and ATK.


GNOME Accessibility Project or GNU Accessibility Project.

Related internet site: GAP home page


Gnopernicus is both an assistive technology for low-visioned and blind persons. It incorporates supports screen readers, braille displays and magnification as its output devices. It uses the AT-SPI protocol for enquiring the information on the screen.

Related internet sites: Gnopernicus home page


Gnome Onscreen Keyboard. It is an application that displays a dynamically changing keyboard on the screen and allows multiple input methods for selection. GOK uses the AT-SPI protocol for updating the keys within the keyboard.

Related internet sites: GOK home page



Java Speech Application Programming Interface. The JSAPI is a cross-platform programming interface to support command and control recognizers, dictation systems and speech synthesizers.

Related internet site: JSAPI home page



kdeaccessibility is a package of assistive technologies for KDE. It is developed by the KDEAP. The kdeaccessibility package currently contains KMagnifier, KMouseTool, and KMouth.

Related internet site: Accessibility Aids for KDE


KDE Accessibility Project.

Related internet site: KDEAP home page


Binary name of KMagnifier.


KMagnifier is a screen magnifier. It magnifies the area of the screen around the mouse pointer or optionally a user defined area. Additionally it offers to save a magnified screenshot to disk. It is part of the kdeaccessibility package, but also has its own homepage. KMagnifier is often called kmag.

Related internet site: KMagnifier home page


KMouseTool is a program that clicks whenever the user stops moving the mouse. This is needed by persons whom it hurts clicking with one of the mouse keys. KMouseTool is part of the kdeaccessibility package, but also has its own hompage.

Related internet site: KMouseTool home page


KMouth is a program for people who cannot speak. It has a text input field and speaks the sentences that you enter. It also has support for user defined phrasebooks. KMouth is part of the kdeaccessibility package, but also has its own hompage.

Related internet site: KMouth home page


KDE Text-To-Speech Deamon. This is a project that aims to give KDE applications a standardized way for speech synthesis. In order to do so, the driver for the actual speech synthesizer is loaded as a plug-in. kttsd is yet in development, but will eventually be added either to the kdelibs, kdebase or kdeaccessibility package.



Microsoft Active Accessibility. This is a part of the Microsoft Windows operating system that collects accessibility relevant information from MSAA aware applications and offers these information to assistive technologies. MSAA was not designed to be the only source of information that is used by assistive technologies. It rather complements existing technologies for determining what is on the screen (such as MSAM).


Microsoft Screen Access Model. This is a technology that can be used on the Microsoft Windows operating system for enquiring screen contents from any application. MSAM does only provide screen contents, not meta-information (as the role or the state of a GUI element). In order to get access to these meta-information assistive technologies have to use MSAA in addition to MSAM.



Former name of kttsd



The relation between two GUI elements. Examples for such relations are that one element is a label for an other element (for example a label for a text input field), an element is controlled by an other element or that the contents logically flow from one element to an other.


The role of a GUI element. An element can be an alert to the user, an arrow, an object that allows to select a date, a check box, a dialog, a menu etc.


Speaker plug-ins

The Speaker plug-ins add a very simple text-to-speech function to Konqueror and Kate. Older versions call IBM ViaVoice or Festival directly; a new version will be released with kttsd. The Speaker plug-ins are very simple and do not have the functionality of a screen reader like Gnopernicus.


The state of a GUI element. For example an element can be active, editable, focusable, focused, selectable, selected etc.



User Agent Accessibility Guidelines, released by the WAI as guidelines for the implementation of accessible internet browsers.

Related internet site: User Agent Accessibility Guidelines

UNO Accessibility API

Universal Network Objects Accessibility Application Programming Interface. This is the accessibility framework of OpenOffice.org.

Related internet sites: OpenOffice.org Accessibility Project, Universal Network Objects (UNO), UNO Accessibility API (UAA)



Web Accessibility Initiative, a sub-project of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) pursuing accessibility of the Web.

Related internet sites: WAI home page, W3C home page


Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, released by the WAI as guidelines for the creation of accessible sites.

Related internet site: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines



XML Accessibility Guidelines, written by the WAI as guidelines for the implementation of accessible XML based-applications.

Related internet site: XML Accessibility Guidelines

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