Macintosh Accessibility Project


The project involves designing, building and testing a screen reader application for Mac OS X operating system.A screen reader is an application that allows a vision-impaired person to use a graphical user interface by providing audible feedback in the form of speech. The screen reader interrogates the actions of the user via the Accessibility APIs and produces speech output using the text-to-speech (TTS) APIs. Both of these APIs are provided by Apple as part of Mac OS X.

The application is being developed using Apple's Project Builder software and coding is done in Objective-C. Objective-C is a superset of ANSI C with some syntax and runtime extensions to make object oriented programming possible. The screen reader application is Cocoa based.

Work that still needs to be done

  • Code to capture system events (network connection change, disk inserted etc.) to convey to the user.
  • Testing the software with vision-impaired users.
  • Build a preference system for the TTS properties provided (volume, speed etc.).
  • Documentation of applications that function correctly (or incorrectly) with the application.
  • Possible application of intelligent methods in some of the decision making areas of the application.
  • Useful skills to have

  • OO software engineering skills (in Java or C++).
  • General programming skills in any language.
  • Some Mac experience (using or programming a Mac) is useful but definitely not essential.
  • Useful Links

  • Apple's Website []
  • Apple Developer Website (documentation and sample source code) []
  • MacDevCenter (articles on Macintosh programming) []
  • Maccessibility (general Macintosh accessibility information and resources) []
  • Apple University Consortium []
  • Contact Details

  • Iain Murray - Project Supervisor []
  • Greg Howell - Project Student []

  • Page last updated 07/08/2003.