Windows Vista FAQs continued
What is UI Automation?
UI Automation is a new accessibility interface that has been created to allow new Vista WPF applications to be accessible. It is designed to replace MSAA. It can also be used by older applications that specifically support it. Most of the Vista user interface supports UI Automation; however the vast majority of existing applications do not currently support it.
Does the display chain manager standard still exist under Vista?
Yes and No. Yes if your Vista is running with Windows XP drivers (because your graphics card does not yet have Vista drivers), and No if your Vista is running with new Vista drivers. Dolphin's software will support both configurations.
What is a Mirror Driver?
A mirror driver is the name for the technology that Microsoft recommends AT vendors use instead of a chaining display driver and DCM. Mirror drivers can work with any Vista display driver and provide information for the screen readers off screen model. Unlike chaining display drivers in XP, Mirror drivers cannot be used to provide magnification.
What is the "aero interface" that I keep hearing so much about and can I use it with any of Dolphin's access software?
The Aero interface is a complex 3d visual effects system that is applied to windows and the desktop. It is also known as the Desktop Window Manager, or DWM. It works by using your 3D graphics accelerator to compose overlapping windows instead of the conventional method of applications sharing video memory. It makes no difference to how applications work, it only affects what they look like on the screen. In practice, if you are running productivity applications full screen, you are unlikely to notice the difference.
In order to support legacy applications, or remote desktop applications, in Vista, Microsoft allows a mirror driver to be installed. Installing the mirror driver automatically switches off the Aero interface, but does allow all information that would otherwise be hidden in hardware to be exposed.
To ensure maximum access to Vista and applications running on it, Microsoft recommend that AT vendors make use of the mirror driver in their products.
Mirror drivers receive a copy of the display and so have no interaction with the desktop, chained drivers sit between the computer and the display and can alter information before it is received by the display.
Can Supernova and Dolphin's other AT products still coexist along side other access software running under Vista?
Yes, this should be the case, however in the absence of many other AT products we have not had the opportunity to fully test this.
I have heard the some AT products work with the Aero interface? IS this true and why?
It depends on the AT product. Some simpler AT products, and AT software that is not a complex screen reader or magnifier may work with Aero.
Will my older software such as office etc work on Vista?
For the most part yes it will. However, you should check with your supplier as there are tens of thousands of software titles on the market and inevitably some of them will not work.
What are the implications for Dolphin's Mobile product users such as Pocket Hal?
Pocket Hal and Smart Hal will be installable using Windows Vista.
What are the implications for users of Dolphin's other products such as the Alt Format products?
Some existing Dolphin products may need a minor update for Vista compatibility.
Can I use the Dolphin Pen under Vista?
Yes, providing it's version 8.
Will any sighted assistance be needed to install AT products such as Hal?
No. However you may have to use Narrator to get past the first security dialog box.
As an AT user is there any advantage to using any of the premium versions of Vista over the basic versions?
No. Dolphin software does not discriminate between Versions of Windows Vista.
Will all my Braille devices still be compatible?
This will depend on the particular device and whether or not the manufacturer has a compatible device driver available. Dolphin is working with Braille display manufacturers to ascertain whether or not their products will work under Vista.
Is Windows Media Centre included in Vista and will it be accessible?
Windows Media Centre can be found in some editions of Vista including Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate. Windows Media Centre under Vista promises more MSAA hooks which means potentially Media Centre will become more accessible for users of screen readers in the future.