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Re: Screen Readers

From: Martin McCormick <martin@dc.cis.okstate.edu>
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001 09:25:55 -0600
To: "WAI Interest Group" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, martin@dc.cis.okstate.edu
Message-Id: <E14UsCJ-0001QD-00@dc.cis.okstate.edu>
	You might want to test with lynx, also.  JAWS is good,
but it is about the most expensive screen reader there is and it
requires a high-end system for best results.  It is kind of like
designing a suit case and then hiring a professional weight
lifter to carry it around in order to test whether the general
public will find it comfortable to use.

	I am both a user of access technology and am one of the
members of our Campus Committee for Accessibility and I know that
users of screen readers comprise a very diverse community from
those who always have the latest and greatest of everything,
sometimes bought with public funds, to those who really have to
scrounge for what they have.

	If your site works with lynx, it probably works with just
about any other combination of screen reader and browser.  If you
tune it to JAWS and Internet Explorer, all a potential customer
has to do to come up short is to do anything differently than your
test subject did.  In my opinion, access needn't be a high-end
quirky proposition, but should work for a wide-ranging cross

	I am not against the use of JAWS as much as I am for options
and choices at the user end.  A web site that can speak to lynx
users when it needs to as well as IE or Netscape users is smart
design.  If the end user gets a working site that he or she can
navigate, then we have access pure and simple.

	It sounds like you are on the right track and you deserve
congratulations for your efforts.  This is basically the rest of
what needs to be  done.

	The worst thing for everyone to get in to their heads is
that JAWS, lynx, or any other specific browser constitutes
access.  JAWS users are one community.  UNIX users are another
and Windows users who are blind and use ASAP, WindowBridge or
Window-eyes form still more groups who, for whatever reason, are
probably going to continue to use their existing software because
it works best in their job or has some other endearing property.

	If the site can think a little and adapt itself to both
the lynx user and the JAWS/IE user, it will probably make most
people happy most of the time.

"Andrew Arch" writes:
>I'd just like to endorse Kynn and David. Having recently started working
>with visually impaired people and doing some user testing with them, I am
>surprised at some of the "assumptions" I had previously made, and the little
>"gotchas" that show up with user testing.
Received on Monday, 19 February 2001 10:25:57 UTC

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