Apple has released new documentation on its accessibility APIs in an effort to get independent software vendors on board. In an article on their developer site titled Universal Access: Computers That Everyone Can Use, Apple makes a pitch to third-party developers, with the basic arguments for integrating accessibility into software apps (including greatest hits like “Because you want to make more money” and “Because the law requires it”). There’s a quick pass over some accessibility-related API calls, but this is mostly intended as a wake-up call outlining what Apple expects of Mac OS X developers before version 10.4 hits the streets.
Apple will need software vendors to support its VoiceOver screen reading technology, along with things like keyboard support (recently championed by Ian Lloyd in a recent Accessify article), in order to make next year’s Tiger release truly usable and useful to users with disabilities. The success or failure of Tiger’s accessibility will rest with all of the applications Apple doesn’t control. And to that end, this article, and updated technical documentation which should be forthcoming, will be required reading for Mac developers between now and Tiger’s release.
(Hat tip: MacCentral)