Introduction to Accessibility Programming Guidelines for Cocoa

All Cocoa applications can and should be accessible to users with disabilities. The process of making an application accessible is called access enabling. In Cocoa applications, accessibility is achieved by user interface classes adopting the NSAccessibility informal protocol. Because standard Cocoa controls and views automatically adopt the NSAccessibility protocol, there is very little you have to do to access enable your application if you rely only on standard control and view objects.

If your application implements custom controls or views, however, you need to provide additional accessibility information to make your application completely accessible.

This topic discusses how Cocoa implements accessibility and describes specific tasks you need to perform to access enable your application.

Who Should Read This Document?

All Cocoa application developers should read this document to learn how to access enable their applications. Even if your application uses only standard Cocoa views and controls, there is some information you need to supply to ensure your application is both completely accessible and provides a good user experience. If you’re new to accessibility or if you’re unsure why your application should be accessible, you should read Accessibility Overview for OS X to learn how applications make themselves accessible to assistive technologies in OS X.

If you’re an assistive application developer, you don’t need to read this document. Instead, you should read Accessibility Overview for OS X to become familiar with the OS X accessibility architecture and learn about the attributes associated with each type of accessibility object.

Organization of This Document

The following articles describe how Cocoa implements accessibility:

The following articles describe how to access enable your application:

See Also

The Accessibility Reference Library contains several documents that cover accessibility.

In addition to these documents, Apple maintains a website devoted to accessibility in OS X, with links to more information about compatible assistive technologies: