Bloor Analyst Peter Abrahams on ODF & OOXML Accessibility
By Peter Korn on Sep 17, 2007
Peter Abrahams, the Practice Leader for Accessibility and Usability at Bloor Research, just published an interesting article today, titled "Document formats and accessibility". In the article he discusses some of the history leading to the ODF and OOXML formats and standards, and some of the accessibility issues around them. In particular, he notes the work IBM has done in the development of IAccessible2, and notes that support for IAccessible2 is coming to OpenOffice.org.
What struck me most about his article is the argument he makes for the strengths of ODF and OOXML, based on their history and where they come from. He notes:
And in service of accessibility, he makes the following observations, and then gives the following advice:
For AT developers in particular, and many other tool creators in general, it would be a great benefit if there was just one format for new documents. This would enable all the effort being used in the creation of robust and function rich tools rather than having to support two competing standards.
Given the support ODF is now getting it would be sensible if the OpenXML committee decided to align the standard with ODF so that OpenXML concentrated on the archiving issue rather than defining a new standard for all documents.