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Esri Legal

Technology Overview

Accessibility issues can occur in any level of technology. You should be aware of and understand what levels of computer technology are used in your applications. This will help you identify exposure points to investigate for potential accessibility issues.

Custom CodeUsers build or receive many custom applications.
Applications and Runtime Libraries
Esri provides applications and runtime libraries
Operating SystemThese include Windows, OS X, iOS, Linux, etc.
HardwareThis includes various UNIX and PC computers.
Computer systems have four layers of technology. Accessibility issues can occur at any level technology.
  1. Hardware 
    Various hardware platforms have different accessibility issues, for example, the support for alternate types of keyboard and computer monitor size and resolution. Check your hardware vendor's Web site and your operating system vendor's Web site for accessibility issues.
  2. Operating System 
    The operating system handles many accessibility issues and facilitates the communication between the hardware and various assistive technologies (e.g., larger keyboards, dynamic Braille display). For example, Microsoft Windows includes an Ease of Access Center to help locate accessibility settings. Check your operating system vendor's Web site for accessibility features.
  3. Applications and Runtime Libraries 
    Applications are software that run on your operating system and work with various databases. ArcInfo and ArcView are examples of Esri applications. Applications may contain accessibility features such as keyboard shortcuts.
  4. Custom Code 
    Custom applications are those built on top of Esri software or that utilize Esri software components (e.g., applications built with ArcGIS for Server or Portal for ArcGIS). It is definitely possible to build custom code that does not utilize the accessibility features of the underlying applications. For example, a custom-built user interface on top of MapObjects may not provide any keyboard shortcuts for menu choices.


To gain further understanding of the various technology layers at which accessibility issues may occur, you should check your operating system vendor's Web site. A particularly good Web site for understanding these technology layers is Microsoft's Accessibility Web site.