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Was: What would a screen reader make of this?, now: user testing

From: Jim Tobias <tobias@inclusive.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 06:03:21 -0400
To: Marjolein Katsma <access@javawoman.com>, Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <NEBBJIAFILGDABFKCNLHOEENDDAA.tobias@inclusive.com>
Hi All,

I agree with all of Marjolein's points about non-commercial sites.
But we need to look at the reality of user testing of commercial
sites: if it's done at all, it's done on a small scale.  Of the
commercial sites I'm aware of, user testing amounts to nothing
more than an afterthought; in one case, it involved 10 family
members of the webweaver team!  Of course user testing should be
expanded -- no one would argue against that, and it should include
users with disabilities.  But to argue that right now companies
should bring in dozens of folks with lots of screen reader experience
flies in the face of current practice, which is why it's ignored.

The origin of this thread was a proposal to develop a screen reader
simulation tool.  I accept all the criticisms we've seen here about the
imperfection of such a tool.  But face the fact that this is the number
two request I hear from corporate webweavers.  Number one is the
automatic de-barrierizer, the coding tool that miraculously removes
all inaccessibility from websites.  I hope we all agree that it's
more important to argue against that one!

The screen reader simulation tool would point them in the right direction,
no matter how imperfect it was.  There should be a similar WAP tool,
a phone-access tool (different from the screen reader tool), and others.
None of these tools can guarantee anything, they can just illustrate
the problems and solutions.  If the only alternative is to read, digest, and
internalize the WCAG, we're kinda sunk.


Jim Tobias
Inclusive Technologies
732.441.0831 v/tty
Received on Friday, 15 June 2001 05:58:04 UTC

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