Making Wayland accessible

Piñeiro apinheiro at
Thu Oct 17 13:17:33 CEST 2013

Hi Matthias,

thanks for starting the discussion. I will add some points below.

On 10/15/2013 10:05 PM, Matthias Clasen wrote:
> As part of the ongoing GNOME Wayland porting effort, the GNOME
> accessibility (a11y) team has been looking into what it would take to
> make our existing a11y tools (ATs) and infrastructure work under Wayland.

FWIW, most of the stuff we did on the recent Montreal Summit was related
with Wayland. You can find a summary on this wiki page:

> Most a11y features will probably end up being implemented in the
> compositor:
> - input tweaks like slow keys or bounce keys or hover-to-click
> naturally fit in the event dispatching in the compositor
> - display changes like zoom or color adjustments are already handled
> in gnome-shell under X
> - the text protocol should be sufficient to make on-screen keyboards
> and similar tools  work
> The remaining AT of concern is orca, our screen reader, which does not
> easily fit into the compositor. Here are some examples of the kinds of
> things orca needs to do to support its users:
> - Identify the surface that is currently under the pointer (and the
> corresponding application that is registered as an accessible client)

FWIW2, there is a running conversation about that here:

> - Warp the pointer to a certain position (see
> for a description of
> how this is used)

Also tracking mouse position (More about that here,, although it doesn't
include a description about how it is used).

> - Filter out certain key events and use them for navigation purposes.
> This is currently done by capturing key events client-side and sending
> them out again via at-spi, which will probably continue to work, even
> if it is awkward and toolkit authors would really like to get rid of it
> All of these features violate the careful separation between clients
> that Wayland maintains, so that probably calls for some privileged
> interface for ATs.

Most of the people I asked (mostly after Wayland related presentations
on GUADEC and others) pointed to that direction.

> I would appreciate feedback and discussion on this.
> Has anybody else thought about these problems already ?
> Are there better ways to do these things under Wayland ?


Alejandro Piñeiro

More information about the wayland-devel mailing list