[Greasemonkey] greasemonkey for personalized accessibility?

Mark Pilgrim pilgrim at gmail.com
Tue Apr 26 14:53:21 EDT 2005

On 4/26/05, Bruce Landon <Bruce_Landon at douglas.bc.ca> wrote:
> Would greasemonkey scripts be a reasonable approach to custom page
> handling to accommodate the specific needs of a person/student with
> disabilities versus say a proxy server arrangement?

<IBM hat>
Last month at CSUN
<http://www.csun.edu/cod/conf/2005/proceedings/csun05.htm>, my
employer IBM demonstrated WindowEyes working with Firefox.  This is a
big deal; previously all Windows-based screen readers worked solely
with Internet Explorer (including IBM's own Home Page Reader).

Significant to this discussion is that WindowEyes accesses the page
through MSAA (Microsoft's client-based accessibility architecture),
but also through the DOM, which Firefox exposes via a custom COM
interface ISimpleDOMNode
<http://www.mozilla.org/access/windows/at-apis>.  This is also a big
deal; previously screen readers had relied on their own parsers to
parse the page's HTML source themselves.

It is also interesting to note that, while all major screen readers
have the concept of third-party pluggable application-specific scripts
to make non-standard desktop applications more accessible (e.g.
looking at a window handle class and application process name and
determining that this dialog wizard should be read in a certain way),
no screen reader has a comparable system for site-specific web
accessibility scripts.

My conclusion from this is that Greasemonkey is the perfect tool for
client-side accessibility enhancements, because any changes you make
through the DOM will be exposed to assistive technologies.  And soon
(I don't know when WindowEyes is shipping -- the CSUN demo was
performed with nightly builds of both programs).. but soon, there will
be shipping software that can take immediate advantage of such
client-side enhancements.  If that doesn't scream "niche development
opportunity" to you, nothing will.

Accessible Greasemonkey'ing is going to be huge.  Huge.
</IBM hat>


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