W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-wai-evaltf@w3.org > April 2012

Re: Using AT for evaluation

From: Denis Boudreau <dboudreau@accessibiliteweb.com>
Date: Mon, 02 Apr 2012 09:39:50 -0400
Cc: Eval TF <public-wai-evaltf@w3.org>
Message-id: <3BC7AB1C-7788-4E0D-86AB-2DAEDBB04400@accessibiliteweb.com>
To: RichardWarren <richard.warren@userite.com>
Hi Richard,

I would also like to weigh in with Richard here. All too often, screen reader testing is considered a luxury that can be done without. I am one of those who think that an evaluation cannot be considered complete unless some screen reader testing has been conducted - and ideally, not only by a developer, but really by a "real" end user with a visual impairment, using the assistive technology regularly. The same could be said of other end user using other tools for other disabilities or limitations, but at the very least, screen readers.

There are always things that are brought up with AT testing that cannot be flagged using only a checklist. Some of the things that come to mind are links used for buttons that really should be coded as <button>, an overwhelming number of heading elements in a page (big menus and fat footers anyone?) or quite obviously, any script that opens up or reveals content in a page. I recently had big surprises simply with phone number formats and how screen readers read them. That was another real eye opener (no pun intended).

This is why I tend to follow this pattern personally:

* testing the web page with a screen reader
* using an automatic checker for basic problems
* running manual testing to complete the audit

And whenever I am being offered the budget to do so, calling in a visually impaired friend or two who can push those tests much further that my sighted self can push them.


On 2012-03-29, at 6:48 PM, RichardWarren wrote:

> First – sorry I missed the last half of the teleconference – system crash.
> I wish to add to the discussion on using AT in evaluation. I believe it is important to use a screen reader at the very least before completing an evaluation. We do the normal stuff first (it is not fair to ask a blind user to struggle if we already know that the site is impossible for them). But as soon as we are happy that a site is reasonably good we always ask someone to check with their screen reader. Most times their comments re-inforce what we have found (often with better phrasing <G>). But just occasionally they find something that our other systems do not pick up. For example the word “accesskeys” sound completely Russian unless it is written “access keys”, or “access-keys”.
> I strongly believe that the audio output needs to be checked properly. If you look at our outline procedure sent to this list on 26 Feb you will see that we find someone who is new to the site to use a screen reader. This approach gives us a high level of confidence in our final evaluation.
> Richard
> Technical Manager
> Website Auditing Limited
> http://www.userite.com
Received on Monday, 2 April 2012 13:40:19 UTC

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