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  • 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. Getting Started New to Accessibility? So was I three years ago. Get caught-up by reading my MSDN whitepaper on Testing for Accessibility . Also, remember...
  • Blog Post: Testing for Accessibility: Keyboard, High Contrast, and Assistive Technology Compatibility

    Consider this my testament as an Accessibility Tester. I am a Software Designer Engineer in Test on the Visual Studio Core Team. My team owns the critical aspects of the integrated shell, and I am responsible for the quality of the shell's Accessibility. When I first started Accessibility testing two...
  • Blog Post: Watch Out for these Unpopular Accessibility Bugs

    I attended a few get-togethers with some Assistive Technology vendors a while back when they were on campus for an Accessibility conference. While eating dinner with one particular AT vendor, I had asked him what we, Visual Studio , could do to improve our Assistive Technology compatibility story. Next...
  • Blog Post: Questions and answers about AA-Naming your control

    I’m often asked “What's the correct name for this control?” There are many variations to this question, for example: 1. Does this control need an AA name? 2. Do we change the AA name if a control’s caption or label changes? 3. Do we add the AA description to the AA name, in order to “force” the screen...
  • Blog Post: Normal, Unavailable, Offscreen, and Invisible AA States Explained

    I'm often asked about the relationship among Normal (same as Visible), Unavailable, and Offscreen, and Invisible AA States. Here's my best guess at an explanation. What the docs say Starting with the MSAA SDK Docs on Object State Constants , the following terms are defined as follows: STATE_SYSTEM_NORMAL...
  • Blog Post: Usability and Accessibility - are they the same thing?

    The more I study UI Consistency and improving the user experience, and the more feedback I hear from customers who use accessibility features, I'm really starting to wonder if Usability and Accessibility are really just two sides of the same coin? Yes, there is a difference between the two. Usability...
  • Blog Post: Book Report on "Accessibility for Everybody: Understanding the Section 508 Accessibility Requirements"

    There is a book out on the market for Accessibility called Accessibility For Everybody: Understanding the Section 508 Accessibility Requirements , a 500 page book written by John Paul Mueller and published by APress in 2003. Introduction A few months ago, a dev on my team discovered a book called Accessibility...
  • Blog Post: "Testing for Accessibility" article moved to new location

    My “Testing for Accessibility” article, also known internally as a “whitepaper”, is now found under UI Design and Development - Accessibility - Technical Articles at http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/dnacc/html/accessibility_testing.asp . I'm working with MSDN to get it copied back over to its...
  • Blog Post: What do you think about desktop customization?

    Christopher Keroack, the Test Manager for the Windows Accessibility team, asked me if I could post the following: What do you think about desktop customization? This can either be out of necessity (e.g. making fonts bigger, making UI easier to click with the mouse) or to personalize it (e.g. changing...
  • Blog Post: What does IAccessible::get_accKeyboardShortcut() return?

    If you said, “A Control's Keyboard Shortcut”, that’s incorrect! I get asked this question from time to time, so I'm going to share the answer here. Let’s review a Keyboard Shortcut versus a Mnemonic. A mnemonic is a control’s underlined letter or its access key. A keyboard shortcut is a combination of...
  • Blog Post: Which MSAA Properties Get Localized?

    Let me answer this with a story… it began with a question in my inbox I hadn’t seen before, “Are standard windows scrollbars over-localized on non-ENU OS?” A tester on my team had installed an English version of the product on a Japanese OS. He noticed that the scrollbars within the English product had...
  • Blog Post: “Hide underlined letters for keyboard navigation until I press the Alt key” does more than just hide underlined letters

    You can find this control on the Display Properties – Appearance Tab – Effects dialog. It not only hides underlined letters, but also it can hide focus at certain times. If you’ve ever wondered why focus appears sometimes and it doesn’t appear at other times, check out these scenarios: To view this behavior...
  • Blog Post: More on the "Hide Underlined Letters" Checkbox Issue

    Check out Saurabh's post on the “hide underline letters” checkbox issue. If you've ever wondered, “How do I figure out when to paint focus rectangle and when to draw string with mnemonics underlined?” Saurabh has the answer for both managed and unmanaged code. Nice work Saurabh!
  • Blog Post: How to Retrieve Text Under the Mouse Cursor Using AA

    Raymond Chen has a post with sample code on How to Retrieve Text under the cursor (mouse pointer) using MSAA. The code sample include how to call AccessibleObjectFromPoint, IAccessible::get_accName, and IAccessible::get_accValue.
  • Blog Post: MsaaVerify - An 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: Implementing IAccessible on Custom Controls

    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: Active Accessibility and Common Controls

    From time to time, I get questions of “Which properties do I need to support for my control?” or “What values do I put 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 at...
  • Blog Post: Testing with Assistive Technologies

    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: MSAA Property Descriptions

    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...
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