CO886 group project
Your core task is this: you should extend the HEAT system so that it can be used by students who have visual disabilities, such as partial or complete blindness. There are a number of different approaches that you could take to this — for example, you could add support for speech synthesis, or implement a specialised easy-to-read version of the GUI, or tie into the Java accessibility framework.
Some things that you will probably want to do:
• Understand and document the existing piece of software at an appropriate level, possibly making use of the UML diagrams that you have learned in the module. Doing this well will lay down a good foundation for the rest of the project, and will enable you to carefully explain the extensions that you have made.
• Research relevant background: investigate what has already been done in terms of interfaces for visual disability and blindness, which of these have been successful, what the principles are behind the successes, et cetera.
• Investigate relevant technologies. For example, you might want to look at speech synthesis technologies, such as the open-source FreeTTS system.
• You are encouraged to use some recognised methodology for software development, and an associated system of documentation.
• You should use some source code management system, and issue tracking system.
• You should carefully document the changes that you make. You should consider making use of meaningful commit messages and the GitLab wiki.
• You should break down the problem into manageable sections, each delivering a meaningful piece of functionality. A project that implements a smaller number of complete tasks is better than one that tries to do a large number and delivers on nothing.
• You should try to divide work between the members of the team in a fair, efficient way. You may like to think about giving members of the team specific roles.
Some starting points:
• Before project week, you can familiarise yourself with the code, and plan what you’d like to achieve during the week. You may want to plan for a meeting with your group, so everybody is clear about what they’re going to be doing.
• One starting point is to get used to the HEAT system by making some minor changes. For example, change some of the wording or visual elements in the system. This will get you accustomed to the process of modifying the code, checking in those changes and recompiling.
• When working with external libraries, first try implementing some simple test programs outside of HEAT. Then, once you have developed an understanding of that system, you can start integrating the library into HEAT itself.
• Have a look at other related systems for inspiration: for example the Emacspeak project.
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