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Re: AW: Using AT for evaluation

From: Michael S Elledge <elledge@msu.edu>
Date: Wed, 04 Apr 2012 09:57:42 -0400
Message-ID: <4F7C5356.7020607@msu.edu>
To: Vivienne CONWAY <v.conway@ecu.edu.au>, RichardWarren <richard.warren@userite.com>, Kerstin Probiesch <k.probiesch@googlemail.com>
CC: 'Eval TF' <public-wai-evaltf@w3.org>
Hi Everyone--

My preference would be to _require_ the use of a screen reader in 
conducting an evaluation, either with or without a person with 
disabilities. The _option_, in my mind, would be having it done by a 
person with disabilities.

With the availability of free screen readers like NVDA, testers ought to 
be able to incorporate it in testing without incurring unreasonable 
costs. I realize this falls short of the ideal, which is evaluation by a 
variety of people with different disabilities, but we've found it to be 
critical in our testing for discovering issues (such as pronunciation or 
functionality) that would otherwise be missed.

I think another AT frequently used by persons with disabilities, screen 
enlargers like ZoomText, may be unnecessary in the testing methodology, 
so long as other methods are used to review an enlarged screen. I bring 
that up for discussion, because others may not agree with me.

Best regards,


On 4/2/2012 8:17 PM, Vivienne CONWAY wrote:
> HI all
> I always use screen readers and am wary when clients say that they don't need testing with AT because they don't have any disabled users.  We never know the extent of employees' limitations - they don't have to disclose everything.  Also, it often happens that someone suffers an injury or illness while in employment only to find that they can't use the system now that worked for them previously.  The old 1 in 5 thought regarding disabilities applies to those in employment as to the general public in their use of a website.
> So... I would suggest that AT (at least the screen reader) be strongly encouraged for all website/application testing.
> Regards
> Vivienne L. Conway, B.IT(Hons), MACS CT
> PhD Candidate&  Sessional Lecturer, Edith Cowan University, Perth, W.A.
> Director, Web Key IT Pty Ltd.
> v.conway@ecu.edu.au
> v.conway@webkeyit.com
> Mob: 0415 383 673
> This email is confidential and intended only for the use of the individual or entity named above. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email is strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please notify me immediately by return email or telephone and destroy the original message.
> ________________________________________
> From: RichardWarren [richard.warren@userite.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, 3 April 2012 2:28 AM
> To: Kerstin Probiesch
> Cc: 'Eval TF'
> Subject: Re: AW: Using AT for evaluation
> Dear Kerstin,
> I don't object too much if a "real user" (ie blind person) doesn't use a
> screen reader to test the site - the most important thing is that a screen
> reader is used. Only a screen reader's audio output would demonstrate
> misspelled words and phone numbers (thanks Denis). You would not test
> without using a visual browser so you should also use an audio browser.
> For an enclosed environment, such as an Intranet, it could be possible to
> exclude testing with certain AT - only IF you know that the technology will
> not be required. However this would then mean that the Intranet could never
> be used by such a disabled person and could breach employment legislation.
> Richard
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kerstin Probiesch
> Sent: Monday, April 02, 2012 3:51 PM
> To: 'Denis Boudreau' ; 'RichardWarren'
> Cc: 'Eval TF'
> Subject: AW: Using AT for evaluation
> Hi Richard, Denis, all,
> I also think that test with "real" (at least screen reader) users are
> important and that we should strongly recommend it but leave it optional. As
> I remember the discussion on our last telco there are two aspects:
> - testing with AT and
> - accessibility supported
> I think we have an intersection but also other aspects like: are
> technologies like PDF and Flash accessibility supported? Depending upon the
> answer it will have probably different consequences for our methodology.
> Also different use cases like internet and intranet (especially when it
> comes to scripting for JAWS or other screen readers in closed environments)
> might have an impact. I'm thinking about if we could find for the tests of
> intranets something better than just "optional" without reducing the
> audience of our methodology in whole.
> Best
> Kerstin
> Von: Denis Boudreau [mailto:dboudreau@accessibiliteweb.com]
> Gesendet: Montag, 2. April 2012 15:40
> An: RichardWarren
> Cc: Eval TF
> Betreff: Re: Using AT for evaluation
> 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.
> /Denis
> 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
> This e-mail is confidential. If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose or use the information contained within. If you have received it in error please return it to the sender via reply e-mail and delete any record of it from your system. The information contained within is not the opinion of Edith Cowan University in general and the University accepts no liability for the accuracy of the information provided.

Michael S. Elledge
Associate Director
Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting
Michigan State University
Kellogg Center
219 S. Harrison Rd Room 93
East Lansing, MI  48824
Received on Wednesday, 4 April 2012 13:58:14 UTC

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