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Re: Screen readers - usage stats?

From: Ian Anderson <lists@zstudio.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2004 21:41:10 +0100
Message-ID: <00b001c42260$d1d7c480$0400a8c0@QUIXOTE>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

> What needs to be kept in mind is that the users of a particular screen
> reader usually expect certain behaviors and know how to deal with them and
> have set up the environment according to their needs so if you code
> something that you think has solved an issue for a particular screen
> and that screen reader is set to render differently by a user you may
> get a complaint.  This is what makes coding for screen readers difficult
> addition to the fact that you may assume that a jaws user is using ie bu
> fact, that user might be using netscape 4.075.

Absolutely - this is one reason why I tell my clients that you can't design
the accessible experience.

> My personal preferences in jaws departs a good bit from the defaults but
> when I encounter sites that are well coded, I have no accessibility issues
> with them.

This is pretty much the crux of the dilemma I face in trying to make this
well-known banking site more accessible. I know that given the right
settings in JAWS or Window-Eyes, many of the design issues I discover in the
site can be overcome. However, I can't assume that users will have the
software configured correctly for the situation at hand, and I know that:

a. most users will not configure their software to the extent that expert
users do, and the individual choices made will be different as you pointed

b. once the software has been configured, the chances of the user digging
about in their preferences to resolve an issue is pretty much nill - they'll
blame the site and either cope or leave.

So, I test strictly on default settings and the only change I make to JAWS
to save my sanity is to stop it repeating my keystrokes. One of my
assumptions is that for any given preferences option, the likelihood is that
most users will have left it on default. Which is pretty frustrating, since
for example one of the defaults is not to expand ACRONYM elements.

Incidentally, I have had slightly more problems with Window-Eyes getting
things wrong than I have with JAWS. Perhaps because it's on default
settings, or perhaps because of the specific design situations I'm handling.
Received on Wednesday, 14 April 2004 16:45:39 UTC

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