Sara Ford's Weblog

My adventures embracing open source on CodePlex and at Microsoft

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  • Blog Post: Reintroducing MsaaVerify as an open source project on CodePlex

    Prior to my retirement from accessibility (i’m still retired, btw), i wrote a testing tool for verifying the required MSAA properties needed for Assistive Technology devices, like screen readers, Braille displays, and so forth.  Working on the power toys for the past year has made me want to pick...
  • Blog Post: Another MSDN Blog that discusses accessibility - Microsoft Federal Developer Evangelism Team Blog

    Back in September ‘05  (yeah, I’m just a little behind the times), the Microsoft Federal Developer Evangelism Team started blogging, including a category on Accessibility.  All of their content thus far is on ASP.NET.  So, if you need info on making accessibile ASP.NET applications (not...
  • Blog Post: Accessibility and Interviewing

    Gretchen is curious what your experiences have been like , either as the interviewer or interviewee.  It makes me wonder how I would give a coding problem to someone who is blind, because I’m extremely visual and like looking at code on the whiteboard.  I’m not the best at recording everything...
  • Blog Post: Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2 Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) now available

    What is a VPAT? Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1998 provides strict accessibility standards that any technology must strive to meet before the U.S. federal government can consider purchasing it. As such, federal IT purchasers must conduct market research about a product before it can be adopted...
  • Blog Post: Role-Based Testing Strategy for Verifying Microsoft Active Accessibility

    Below is something I’ve been working on for a while now, putting all of my thoughts regarding MSAA testing down onto paper.  Consider this the grand specification for MsaaVerify.  Provided i had enough time, this is everything i wanted to implement in MsaaVerify.  Hopefully someone out...
  • Blog Post: Did you know… New Accessibility Macros in Visual Studio 2005 for tweaking colors and font sizes in the editor

    I wrote the Accessibility Macros for Visual Studio 2005, my proud 131 line contribution to the product.  There are 4 macros Increase / Decrease Text Editor Font size incrementally – works great when bound to a keyboard shortcut Update the Text Editor font size to match the OS font size Make the...
  • Blog Post: What to do when TreeViews or ListViews don’t show selection or inactive selection

    While working on a community app project (you’ll hear more on this later), I needed help setting the selection (and inactive selection) on a tree view.  Just a refresher from my first ever blog post , Explanation of Focus and Selection Focus: Only one control or UI Element can take focus at a time...
  • Blog Post: Moving on from Accessibility

    On September 1st, I stepped down from my role on the Visual Studio Accessibility Team. This month marked my 3 year anniversary working on Accessibility. I feel that I have done everything that I could do in this space. And I saw such passion and dedication coming from members of my Accessibility Leadership...
  • Blog Post: The Fundamentals of Accessibility

    Consider this article your one-stop shop for all things IAccessible. Below is a summary of the most important topics under my accessibility category. http://blogs.msdn.com/saraford/articles/223650.aspx
  • Blog Post: What do the MSAA Properties really mean?

    Here’s a collective summary of what the different MSAA Properties really mean. Reference: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/msaa/msaaccgd_95kk.asp IAccessible::get_accName Every object must have a name. AccExplorer cannot show “NAMELESS” for this object. In addition, the AA name needs to be unique...
  • Blog Post: The Hidden Keyboard Shortcuts of Visual Studio 2005

    I’m calling these keyboard shortcuts “hidden” because they are not bound to any commands, so you won’t be able to find these under Tools – Options – Keyboard. Keyboard Shortcut To Reach the Command Bar Toolbars To reach the standard toolbar that 99% of the time lives under the Main Menu, use the following...
  • Blog Post: How To Really Do Screen Reader Testing (or Assistive Technology Testing)

    In the past, I’ve focused on testing MSAA Properties. Now we’re ready to take screen reading testing to the next level by adding Events into the algorithm. It is not only essential that a control support the correct MSAA properties, but it is also essential that the control fire the right event for these...
  • Blog Post: Which Controls Support Which MSAA Properties, and How These Controls Implement MSAA Properties

    From time to time, I get questions of “Which properties do I need to support for my control?” or “What values do I specify for these properties.” I wrote the MsaaVerify Testing Tool to do this level of testing for you, but from a dev’s perspective, they need to know this information at design time, not...
  • Blog Post: VS 2005 Beta 1 – How did I do as a tester with my feature ownerships?

    As everyone else on blogs.msdn.com, I’m really excited about the Visual Studio .NET 2005 Beta 1 release. Yes, even more excited than getting an email from BillG. =) This is the first product that I’ve worked on from the very first coding milestone to a Beta release, so I want to know how I did as a feature...
  • Blog Post: IAccessible Implementation Sample for a Custom Push Button Published!

    Fiona, one of the devs on my team VSCore, has put together a really nice sample on how to implement IAccessible for a Custom Push Button . If you’re using standard Windows controls, you get MSAA implemented for free. However, if you’re using custom drawn controls, it is imperative that you implement...
  • Blog Post: BusinessWeek Article Featuring My Blog

    The June 28 th edition of BusinessWeek has an article called Blogging with the Boss’s Blessing which features me and my blog. BusinessWeek interviewed me last week to discuss why I mix personal information (how I want an autographed photo of Richard Dean Anderson) with technical information (Accessibility...
  • Blog Post: Accessibility and Blogging CSUN Session / If there's only one thing bloggers remember about Accessibility...

    While I was giving my CSUN presentation, one of my fellow Microsoft employees attended the Blogging and Accessibility session. He told me that the Blogging and Accessibility session visited my blog and said Hello . For the next couple of days, I was proud to tell people how I participated in two sessions...
  • Blog Post: 3 Days in the Life of a SDET

    Zoe’s post Are you a good enough developer to be a Microsoft SDET got me thinking about what I do during a typical day. However, a 3 day period gives a much better impression of an average day in a SDET’s life than just some random day… Wednesday, May 26 th 9am – Arrive at work. I love my Gortex jacket...
  • Blog Post: RadioButton doesn't resize when you increase the Font size

    A customer asked me a question the other day about how to increase the font size of the actual radio button itself. I asked Saurabh to answer the question, and he posted his response on his blog. Saurabh calls out how this leads to an inconsistency between the application having large radio button fonts...
  • Blog Post: Ruling on the Tennessee ADA case about making state courthouses accessible

    Update on the Tennessee ADA case ... Except below taken from an Associated Press article. Note the 5-4 ruling. Washington (AP) - Disabled people can sue if states ignore a landmark civil rights law that protects their rights, a divided Supreme Court ruled Monday in the case of a paraplegic man...
  • Blog Post: So close to reaching my google ranking goal and other strange googlings

    When i first started blogging, I created a goal to be ranked first on google when you type in “Testing for Accessibility” (no quotes), my article comes up first. As of posting this entry, it comes in at second place. So close, but with another 5 months to go (which will make it one year)...
  • Blog Post: Your picture in our hallways

    Chad is collecting pictures of our customers to post in our hallways. We have lots of posters of applications built with Visual Studio, but very few, if any, pictures of the people behind these apps. If you're interested or interested in seeing who else is sending in their picture, check out Chad's project...
  • Blog Post: Accessibility Macros for Visual Studio .NET 2003

    As I demo’ed at CSUN , here are the Accessibility Macros for Visual Studio .NET 2003 . These macros allow users to tweak the Visual Studio .NET 2003 IDE by easily increasing and decreasing font size, toggling colors in the editor to pure black on white (or vice versa), and maximizing tool windows. I...
  • Blog Post: Introducing MsaaVerify – a Microsoft Active Accessibility Testing Tool

    Have you ever used AccExplorer or Inspect and wondered whether the information presented was correct? Have you ever wanted to know which controls really need Names, Keyboard Shortcuts, Descriptions, and so forth ? It's time to MsaaVerify! MsaaVerify will verify 9 Microsoft Active Accessibility properties...
  • Blog Post: My Channel 9 Interviews have been posted

    So far, 5 out of the 8 video interviews have been posted on Channel 9 : Accessibility and Visual Studio Are there some misperceptions of working at Microsoft that you’d like to correct? What does it mean to test? How many bugs a day do you find? Who decides who wins between a developer and a tester?
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