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Re: Assistive technologies

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 19:05:17 +0200
To: Anna.Yevsiyevich@kohls.com, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.thohq3tpwxe0ny@pc058.coreteam.oslo.opera.com>

On Thu, 19 Oct 2006 16:49:53 +0200, <Anna.Yevsiyevich@kohls.com> wrote:

> Would you have any recommendations on what is the most popular or the
> most frequently used equipment for web use? I see that Microsoft has a  
> screen reader, there is also JAWS, I also saw a braille reader. Is
> there something that a large portion of disabled people use to
> navigate the web? We would  like to
> purchase something that would let us experience our website the way  
> others might.

Hi Anna,

first, it depends where you are working. Most people will probably use  
Internet Explorer with default settings (not realising that even IE has  
some limited ability to zoom fonts). At some point they will put on their  
glasses, or move to the keyboard to navigate. Think os the proportion of  
aging people who will just want a little bit of help, like not making the  
fonts in the micro-type that designers think is cool.

Then you could get a handful of tools that won't cost anything at all.  
Have a look at Opera, and how it zooms and lets you fit the page to the  
width of your window. Have a look at Firefox or Safari just enlarging font  
sizes. Do try the Navigator in Windows (or whatever the speech thing is  
called) and voiceOver on Macintosh systems. If you want a rough idea of  
what will come out of a braille system, give lynx or w3m a quick  
test-drive. Sit down with a couple of graphic browsers but no mouse. Then  
put a stick or pencil in your mouth, and try that for a little while.

I think that most f what you will find as guidance is geared towards  
people using JAWS and IE. But think about different disabilities (ones  
that affect motor ability are pretty common, so tiny little icons you try  
to hit can be difficult to deal with...)

But be aware that there are a very wide range of tools out there, that  
they are very complex, and the the range of ability among users varies a  
lot. Some people write their own Window-eyes scripts, or XSLT for  
emacspeak. Others don't realise that you have zoom built-in to the  
operating system, and most browsers have some more clever zoom. The range  
of what users with disabilities do is much broader than the range of what  
"non-disabled" users (or those who think that they are not disabled, just  
don't see too well and have a bit of a problem moving the mouse because  
ther hands shake) do.

Hope that is of some help.

Cheers

Chaals

-- 
   Charles McCathieNevile, Opera Software: Standards Group
   hablo español  -  je parle français  -  jeg lærer norsk
chaals@opera.com          Try Opera 9 now! http://opera.com
Received on Thursday, 19 October 2006 17:05:23 UTC

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