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

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@home.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 06:51:51 -0400
Message-ID: <000b01c0f589$2f951d00$2cf60141@mtgmry1.md.home.com>
To: "Jim Tobias" <tobias@inclusive.com>, "Marjolein Katsma" <access@javawoman.com>, "Kynn Bartlett" <kynn@reef.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Jim, I understand and agree in principle with this I fear though that a
tool such as this would be viewed much like bobby is today by the masses
and we'd be no closer to accessibility than without it.

Benchmarking such a strategy would be a huge and ever changing
undertaking while still not even coming close to the reality that has
been discussed in this thread.  I have not seen any calls for hiring
droves of users to test with screen readers.  There are companies which
already provide this service and were it to be mandated some how that
commercial entities who do business on the web be made "accessible",
we'd see a lot of hiring of those companies such as we have seen by
federal entities through 508.  While wcag is the current definetive tome
on this, it might be extracted from and added to in order to meet this
goal.  I believe wai eo is workig on tools that may help ease the burden
in this regard and also, organizations should know that eo is available
to work with them collectively in order to bridge the gap through
materials and speakers at least the latter on a limitted basis.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Tobias" <tobias@inclusive.com>
To: "Marjolein Katsma" <access@javawoman.com>; "Kynn Bartlett"
<kynn@reef.com>; <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2001 6:03 AM
Subject: Was: What would a screen reader make of this?, now: user

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
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,
internalize the WCAG, we're kinda sunk.


Jim Tobias
Inclusive Technologies
732.441.0831 v/tty
Received on Friday, 15 June 2001 06:51:45 UTC

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