Improving Accessibility for Disabled Users in Connect Pro Meetings
Vincent Toesca, Sr. Product Manager, Adobe Systems
Expertise Level: Intermediate
View Overview Presentation >>
Accessibility defines a set of standards to make information technology and software applications more usable by users who are visually impaired, who have difficulty hearing or whose mobility is reduced. It covers a fairly vast array of capabilities and, in the following interactive demos, we show you where we have decided to focus our attention in the latest release of Connect Pro.
Accessibility has been widely promoted and mandated by federal agencies in the US. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act is a well-known example. But many other international public and private organizations are putting a stronger emphasis on the usability of collaboration technologies by disabled users. At Adobe, this is something we deeply care about as part of our commitment to delivering highly engaging experiences across devices and platforms to all users, without distinction.
With menu navigation, keyboard shortcuts and tab navigation, your organization can now enable more key workflows for disabled persons attending meetings or delivering presentations over Connect Pro. At this point, these options apply to the meeting room user-interface and not yet to the management functions in Connect Pro Central.
View Menu Navigation Demo >>
The following Adobe Captivate demos feature a standard meeting room on a server running Connect Pro 7 Service Pack 1. This meeting session has been opened in the meeting add-in, the Flash-based add-on using for sharing functions by Presenters and Hosts. It is highly recommended using the meeting add-in to take advantage of the accessibility enhancements as some of those are rendered variably in different browsers, when the meeting is launched just from a browser using the Adobe Flash Player.
To begin with, we want to illustrate new keyboard functions and menu navigation. When the application focus is placed in the Connect Pro window, it is now possible to press the CTRL key + the space bar to place the focus in the top-level menu and then use arrow keys to browse through the menu options. You can navigate horizontally and vertically, and within each menu. For example, to change some bandwidth settings for my meeting room, you can go to Meeting and then navigate the drop-down list. There you can click Room Performance and Appearance then Optimize Room Bandwidth to change the settings from DSL to LAN, select LAN and then press the space bar. The menu dims after my selection. To verify that your new setting has been properly enforced, you can go back and see that the room is now set to use LAN settings.
- Open the meeting in the Add-in to take advantage of all accessibility enhancements. If the Add-in is not installed on your computer, please open the Help menu, select Check for Updates and download Adobe Acrobat Connect Add-in.
- Use CTRL + Space to start menu navigation
View Keyboard Shortcuts Demo >>
Another major improvement relies on enabling chording and keyboard shortcuts to manage key meeting functions. The list of shortcuts is available from the meeting room, by selecting the Keyboard Shortcuts option in the Help menu.
|New Keyboard Shortcuts|
|CTRL + M||Toggle Microphone on (locked) or off.|
|CTRL + UP ARROW||Toggle Raise Hand Status.|
|CTRL + .||Toggle Full Screen Mode. Applies to currently selected Share Pod.|
|CTRL + '||Promote to Host. Requires selected attendee(s) in the Attendee List.|
|CTRL + ]||Demote to Participant. Requires selected attendee(s) in the Attendee List.|
|CTRL + /||Promote to Preesenter. Requires selected attendee(s) in the Attendee List.|
|CTRL + ,||Start/Stop Recording (toggle). For Start, brings up the Start Recording Dialog.|
|CTRL + \||End Meeting. Brings up the End Meeting Dialog.|
|CTRL + [||Start/Stop Desktop Sharing. Applies to currently selected Share Pod.|
|CTRL + SPACE||Opens up left most menu for keyboard navigation.|
Note: These keyboard shortcuts apply to both Windows and Macintosh machines. Macintosh users should use CTRL and not COMMAND (the apple key)
As a presenter or host, you can decide to record the session just by pressing the CTRL and the [comma] keys. Upon selecting this option, a start recording dialog opens up. You can edit the title and description field. Use the Tab key to move from one field to another. When you are done, press Enter and the meeting starts, as indicated by the notifier in the top right corner of the window. To stop it, use the same chording keys. You can also press CTRL + Space and navigate the Meeting menu to select Stop recording. You have both options, at your convenience.
The new shortcuts in Connect Pro are available whether you use a PC or a Mac. Certain limitations apply to certain international keyboards, such as French or German, as the arrangement of keys may differ substantially. Again, you can check this list at any time by clicking the link Keyboard Shortcuts link in the Help menu.
- Open the Help menu, select Keyboard Shortcuts to view all current shortcuts
- For sharing functions, please make sure that the focus is placed in the Share pod, by using the Tab pod. Sharing shortcuts are only active when the application focus is in the Share pod.
View Tab Navigation Demo >>
You can use the Tab key to navigate the options. If you want to share an application, you can place the focus on Applications, then press the space bar to select it. The list of applications opened on your laptop is displayed and you can navigate them by tabbing. You can go back to select Desktop if you want to share your complete view. Once Desktop has been selected, tab to the Share button and press Enter to start sharing. Your desktop is now shared with all attendees.
To stop sharing, go back to the Connect window by using the Alt + Tab chording keys. Press CTRL + [ (opening bracket) again to stop streaming your desktop view. It has now ended. Other functions are possible with tabbing and chording keys, such as navigating the attendee list and promoting/demoting users, muting/un-muting your phone line or using full-screen mode.
Key use cases and workflows of webconferencing involve sharing a desktop or presentation. This function is now accessible. First, you need to place the focus on the Share pod; this is required to use the sharing functions. The Tab key shall be used to cycle through the different pods. As you may see here, a colored line frames the pod on which the focus is placed. If you press Tab one more time, it moves to another pod. Once the focus is on the Share pod, press CTRL + [open bracket] to start sharing. The Share dialog opens up.
Lets see how to open a presentation uploaded to this room.
Use CTRL + Space keys to navigate the main menu. Browse to Pods. One thing to note before opening the presentation: all the meeting pods can be opened and closed from this section. If you want to hide the chat pod during one of your sessions, for example, you can do it from here, by deselecting the Chat pod using the space bar. To restore it, go back to the Pods menu and re-select the chat pod, still using the Space bar. Its now back in the layout.
Back to the presentation, go to Select from my computer and navigate to the folder where your file is stored. Upon selection, click Open and the upload and conversion start. Your Microsoft PowerPoint presentation will be converted into a richer, Flash-based Presenter presentation.
In the previous versions of Connect Pro, some functions were already keyboard-enabled. For instance, you can go from slide to slide by using the left/right arrow keys arrows here or, alternately, Page Up and Page down.
|Existing Presenter Hot Keys for Content in a Share Pod|
|Page Up or Right Arrow||Next Slide|
|Page Dlown or Left Arrow||Previous Slide|
|Existing Shortcuts for a Whiteboard|
|CTRL + D||Clear|
|CTRL + P|
|CTRL + Z||Undo|
|CTRL + Y||Redo|
|DEL||Delete Selected Items|
|Arrow Keys||Move Selected Items|
|Existing Presenter Hot Keys for Dialog Boxes|
|Enter or Space||Take default dialog action|
- Use menu navigation to the Pods menu to manage the pods in your meeting room
- Use a combination of Tab navigation and keyboard shortcuts to actively manage key meeting functions
View Closed Captioning & Color Customization Demonstration >>
Another useful pod is the Connect Pro Closed Captioning pod. This SWF-based pod is freely available on Adobes website at this address (http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/exchange/index.cfm?event=extensionDetail&extid=1032548# .). It has been developed by leading companies of closed-captioning technologies. Instructions on how to use it are available along with the SWF file itself on our website.
Finally, administrators can customize how some of these accessibility enhancements are visualized. When the app focus is placed in a specific pod, this pod is circled by a colored line. Administrators can customize this color. Log on to Connect Pro Central and go to the Administration tab. Under Customization > Meeting Customization, select Button Rollover. You can select another color, save, and the new setting will apply to new meeting sessions.
We hope these improvements will be helpful to all of your users. We know we can always do better to make Connect Pro more accessible. We will keep working on such improvements in our future major versions to make Connect Pro the best training and meeting platform for absolutely all users.
Thank you for your time and happy Connecting!