Oasis ratifies Open Document Format 1.1

Boston (MA) - Oasis has approved version 1.1 of the Open Document Format (ODF), which provides an alternative and open file format for documents created with office applications. ODF 1.1 includes accessibility improvements for users with disabilities.

According to Oasis, the updated format specification aims to make text documents, spreadsheets and presentations easier to use for users who have low or no vision or who suffer from cognitive impairments. The standard covers short alternative descriptive text as well as optional lengthy descriptions for document elements such as hyperlinks, drawing objects and image map hot spots.

"OpenDocument 1.1 is a practical XML format that is readily transformable to the DAISY digital talking book standard for people with print impairments," said Dave Pawson of the U.K.'s Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) in a prepared statement.

"Navigating through slide presentations poses particular difficulties for blind users. Often, the keyboard navigation order does not match the visual flow of the slides," explained Don Harbison of IBM, co-chair of the OASIS ODF Adoption Committee. "OpenDocument 1.1 adds a provision for the author to define a logical keyboard navigation order."

IBM, Nokia, Novell, Red Hat and Sun announced support for ODF 1.1.