Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

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Slides for Accessibility Presentation At LCA2010 Business Miniconf

On 18 January, I spoke about the advantages for FOSS projects to add accessibility to their software. From a business point of view, it opens new markets, such as: government, universities, and non-profits.

Accessibility & FOSS

Nicolas Steenhout
Accessibility NZ

Business of Open Source Miniconf
18 January 2010


  • Person with disabilities
  • Involved with FOSS
    • Core Team: Mambo, Joomla!, B2Evolution
    • Using desktop + web based applications
  • Involved with business
    • Executive Director: Center for Independent Living
  • Involved with disability awareness
    • Presentations
    • Workshops


  • Presentation only an overview / introduction
  • Project wants to be successful
  • Success = Sales
  • Sales = Number of people using application
  • Sales != Commercial / Exchange of money

Project wants to have as many people, businesses & organisations using their application(s) as possible

Not Software, Solutions

We do not provide software.
We provide solutions.

Clients have specific problem. Our product is the solution.

Our solution must make our clients’ lives easy.

Our solution must resolve more of clients’ issues than competitor

Major Markets

  • Governmental Agencies
    • Government departments
    • Non-Profits primarily funded through government grants
  • Medium / Large Business
  • Education
    • Tertiary level

Accessibility Required

  • Laws, regulations, guidelines, recommendations
  • Most "major" countries address access to e-information.
  • Primarily for government
  • Impacts businesses as well
  • Clients may be unaware of responsibility!


  • Most "major" countries have anti-discrimination legislation
  • Disability = protected class
  • Covers employees + clients

New Markets For You

      Provide applications that are accessible
      Point out to client how your accessible software helps them
      Access markets that require accessibility, such as government or education

Disability Types

A disability is:
"A condition that significantly impairs one or more activity of daily living"

  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Mobility / Dexterity
  • Learning
  • Cognitive

What Is Accessibility?

Accessible software is:
"Software usable by everyone, regardless of impairment"

  • Web applications + desktop applications
  • Keyboard only
  • Alternate text & tooltips
  • Simple workflow
  • No dependance on sound / colour / images
  • Etc…

Conclusion: Win-Win-Win-Win

  • Your project wins: More sales
  • Your client wins: Better compliance
  • People with disabilities win: Greater access
  • FOSS wins: Greater buy-in to FOSS

Accessibility Ressources

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.