Specification of the project

Finally, here they are! The .pdf version of the specification is already available while a link to the .lyx source will be provided soon.

It took longer than I thought but I’m proud of the result. This is a rather long document (3300 words) so I’m only going to reproduce the conclusion on this blog and hope it will pique your curiosity:

The previous state of the art allows to pinpoint three characteristics of existing presentation software:

  1. they are now very rich applications, allowing for the production of highly customizable and visually appealing documents in which multimedia assets can be embedded. The Web enabled a further leap in feature richness, offering a better availability of documents, new possibilities of collaboration and distribution.
  2. if most of them have significant original features that differentiates them from their competitors, there are only slight variations in their GUI that has evolved only minimally over a ten year period.
  3. there are no presentations on the Web that are able to both reproduce their information as a whole through assistive technologies and allow the navigation of slides with a keyboard.

From these observations it it possible to infer three directions for an innovative and valuable presentation software as a Web application:

  1. Trying to compete in term of feature richness with existing solutions is not a reasonable aim for a single developer. In fact, this project could not be completed without the help of external contributors. The first aim of this project will be to encourage individuals to participate in this project and mainly in its implementation phase.
  2. All presentation software use a GUI that is described as an Overview+Detail interface by Andy Cockburn. But other concepts of GUI such as Zooming and Focus+Context are to be found on the Web (Cockburn 2008). The second aim of this project is to assess alternative concepts of interface for presentation software. The ideal would be to build an interface that would give a strong identity to the application and be more intuitive than the traditional one.
  3. It appears that there is a large space for improvement in the accessibility of presentations on the Web. The third objective of this project will be to allow authors to produce accessible presentations with an application that has a graphical user interface.

There is also an interesting part about the nature of information in presentations illustrated by the following document:

A special thank goes to Sébastien Delorme from tentatives-accessibles.eu [fr] for his precious help on the accessibility evaluation of current solutions.

The next steps are the analysis and design of the application. I’ve already posted about solutions for vector graphics in the browser but I should post about the rationals behind my technological choice (Open Web of course) and about my first ideas for the Graphical User Interface. The next weeks are definitely going to be busy!

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