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Open Mobile Accessibility with GitHub and Cordova

Matt May (Adobe Systems)
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Apache Cordova, the open-source mobile app toolkit built from PhoneGap, uses each platform’s native webview to enable people skilled in HTML, CSS and JavaScript to build and deploy compiled mobile apps. But while these apps get some accessibility support from the webview, there’s a lot more that a native mobile app has access to, from the device’s status and preferences to direct access to screen readers like VoiceOver and TalkBack. These functions, walled away from web apps for privacy reasons, are needed in mobile apps to fully enable apps for users with disabilities.

The phonegap-mobile-a11y module is built to bridge that divide. By exposing the common capabilities of each platform via a new accessibility object, we can now roll native-like accessibility support into the Cordova core, allowing developers to fix problems across platforms, all from a single codebase.

In a closed-source environment, this kind of collaboration is hard to achieve. But thanks to its open architecture, we have been able to build this support without a large investment from the core team. This is one of a number of potential approaches for adding support for accessibility into open-source projects.

This session will cover our progress on Cordova accessibility as well as our strategies for attacking accessibility problems in any open-source project.

Matt May

Adobe Systems

Matt May
Accessibility Evangelist, Open Source and Accessibility

Matt May is a developer, technologist, and accessibility advocate who is responsible for working internally and externally with Adobe product teams and customers to address accessibility in Adobe products, ensure interoperability with assistive technologies, and make customers aware of the many accessibility features that already exist in Adobe products.

Prior to joining Adobe, May worked for W3C/WAI on many of the core standards in web accessibility, led the Web Standards Project’s Accessibility Task Force, helped to architect one of the first online grocery sites,, and co-founded Blue Flavor, a respected web and mobile design consultancy. He is a member of the W3C/WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group and co-edited the first JavaScript techniques document for WCAG 2.0 in 2001.

May is an accomplished speaker, having presented at dozens of conferences including Web 2.0 Expo, WebVisions, SXSW Interactive, CSUN Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities, Podcast and Portable Media Expo, Web Design World Seattle, Gilbane CMS Conference, and the International World Wide Web Conference, to name just a few.