Are you wondering why the Accessibility Icon is missing from 3.8? Nop, this is not a bug neither GNOME-rs removed the Accessibility.
The A11y Menu is hidden by default and is getting visible only if we use at least one accessibility feature. The status of the bug (#681528), remains unconfirmed and that design might not be final.
How is it now
Accessibility menu is always visible in GDM. In case we get a broken keyboard and we use OnScreen Keyboard in GDM the accessibility menu will be visible for our session. I can’t see that as I have a broken GDM, so someone correct me if I am wrong.
If we login in GNOME 3.8 Accessibility Icon will be hidden and it will be visible again only if we enable at least one A11y feature.
Don’t forget that we can always enable A11y with keyboard shortcuts.
The bug report is quite old (2012-08-09)
Jon McCann | #681528
I’ve noticed a couple of issues with the universal access menu.
I did an informal user test yesterday and something pretty interesting popped up. The tester was really confused by the menu. Thought it was for personalization because it had a cute little person on it. And had no idea what any of the stuff in the menu was for.
I think contrary to what we hoped this menu has not proven useful for most people and has a very prominent position in the UI.
I suspect there are good reasons why the number two most popular extension (after adding back power off – which we also fixed) is “Remove Accessibility”.
Now just removing the menu is also contrary to our goals of making the experience universally accessible.
One idea is to always offer the menu at the sign in screen and only offer it by default in the session if it was actually needed to sign in. This may not cover every case since some of the items are needed at different times depending on circumstance. So we may be able to do two things to help with that.
First, make most of the important items available on demand automatically or via hotkeys or gestures for when the interface cannot be used/seen. For instance, the on screen keyboard should just work if there is no available keyboard device and text input is needed. Or any of the so-called accessx features should be available via the standard gestures.
We may also want to show the menu when any of these features are enabled. To indicate they are on and to allow the user to turn them off.
Second, we can offer to show the menu all the time as an option in the universal access settings.
The bug seems a bit tricky by design, and if you have some good ideas you can share them in Bugzilla.