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Re: Screen readers - usage stats?

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2004 21:41:58 -0400
Message-ID: <001b01c42354$040e0830$6601a8c0@hands>
To: "Ian Anderson" <lists@zstudio.co.uk>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

There is no clear answer from here on your issue but perhaps there is a best
practices somewhere.  I always look for something independant of the at
issues to work with becaused you are on more solid ground if you do.  Other
wise,to be fair, you have to do a lot more testing with other environments
as has been pointed out.  Even if market stats claim 95 percent of screen
reader sales are jaws, that may not even nearly accurately reflect what is
really going on around the world.  You can do one of two things with regard
to market share.  You can do your best to find out what that market is for a
limitted audience say the uk for instance or you can assume that your site
needs to work with the most challenging environment that it should
reasonably be expected to work with.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ian Anderson" <lists@zstudio.co.uk>
To: "David Poehlman" <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Thursday, April 15, 2004 7:57 PM
Subject: Re: Screen readers - usage stats?

> Actually, what *I* was going for with my comment on screen reader
stats was
> to place the emphasis on technology as a whole rather than screen
> specifically due to the variance in environments and configuration
> preferences.  you cannot possibly second guess every one so rather
than try
> to figure out who uses the most of this or that, it's best to take
> approach that provides for the broadest access possible as you say
in your
> message below.  In other words, If you find that one screen reader
is the
> most popular or gets the most dollars, coding for that will leave
out a lot
> of people.

I don't disagree with you, in the main. I am sure we all agree that
broadest possible access is our overriding goal. What the heck are we
bothering with all this for, if that is not our core belief?

What I am not clear on is the connection that is being made between
optimising the user experience for one group of users with "leaving
out" a lot of others. These are not the same thing.

Here's an analogy. A film is broadcast in widescreen. Those people
with older TV sets (me, for example) either get black bars top and
bottom, or the left and right edges are cropped, or a mixture of both.
Those users who spent money on a widescreen TV may see the film in its
proper format. But if it's broadcast in a modified 4:3 version, it's
the users with widescreen TVs who get cropping, or black bars, or a
stretched picture. This time the widescreen tv users lose out, and the
users of older TVs don't have an incentive to upgrade. Either way,
everyone gets to see the film; some have a better experience than

The analogy is not an exact comparison to JAWS versus Window-Eyes, for
example, because only a few of the problems arise because Window-Eyes
is broken. Most differences are quirks, and you can't use the analogy
of upgrading like you can with browsers. Although WE bugs me
frequently, I do acknowledge that it is a quality piece of software.
However, I think the analogy illustrates my two main points:

1. we are not excluding anyone. I am talking about relatively fine
differences in user experience... tweaking; optimising.
2. whatever you do in these cases, someone will lose out a little

You seem to be saying we should optimize for no screen reader over
another but I can't see, for example, how that helps me choose between
two valid, alternative ways of coding a navigation bar, each of which
creates issues for someone. I want perfect for everyone, but sometimes
there is no perfect. Then, I have to choose, and market share is one
factor I look at in making that choice.
Received on Thursday, 15 April 2004 21:42:11 UTC

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