GOK: the Gnome Online Keyboard

Started in late 2001, GOK was created at the ATRC (University of Toronto) with funding from Sun Microsystems. GOK (an award winning software that provides text entry and graphical user interface interaction using only switches and/or mouse devices), is an on-screen keyboard that provides access to the GNOME desktop through dynamically generated keyboards, and text entry by one of the provided alphanumeric keyboards, or a dynamic keyboard based on the users current system keyboard driver, or even a user-made keyboard.

GOK keyboards are created in two ways. Dynamic keyboards are created (while GOK is running) to provide access to the desktop and application GUIs. Premade keyboards are specified using fairly simple xml (".kbd") files. GOK allows the creation of new ways of operating the GOK keyboards by XML "access method" files (".xam") files. These files also provide the description of the user interface for the access method's settings.

GOK needs help! There is a list of enhancement requests that the developers welcome anyone to help out with. GOK has lots of room for improvement including a need for easier configuration, visual slickness, as well as refactoring and bug fixing. For a critical review please read Henrik's GOK review at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Accessibility/Reviews/GOK.

GOK gnome site: https://developer.gnome.org/

GOK gnome wiki site: https://wiki.gnome.org/Attic/Gok

Orca: an open source scriptable screen reader

Orca is an open source scriptable screen reader. The development of Orca has been led by the Accessibility Program Office of Sun Microsystems, Inc. with contributions from many community members. For more information and to download Orca, see https://wiki.gnome.org/action/show/Projects/Orca?action=show&redirect=Orca.

Using various combinations of speech, braille, and magnification, Orca is designed to work with applications and toolkits that support the assistive technology service provider interface (AT-SPI). This includes the GNOME desktop and its applications, OpenOffice, Firefox, and the Java platform. Some applications work better than others, however, and the Orca community continually works to provide compelling access to more and more applications.

On the Accessible Applications page at Orca Accessible Applications, you will find a growing list of information regarding various applications that can be accessed with Orca as well as tips and tricks for using them. The list is not to be a conclusive list of all applications. Rather, the goal is to provide a repository within which users can share experiences regarding applications they have tested.

Anyone with an interest in improving the GNOME Desktop Accessibility Guide (user section), please review the latest edits at https://help.gnome.org/users/gnome-help/stable/a11y.html and direct all corrections, suggestions, etc. to email hidden; JavaScript is required – your input is greatly appreciated!

Darragh Ó Héiligh is a senior system administrator at Dublin City University in the Information System and Services department. He is blind and uses several tools to make his job accessible. He writes a blog and prepares Tech Pages for more thorough details about using Linux, Orca, and other technology. For example, "Using the Tilda terminal in Linux with full accessibility for Orca users".