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RE: How closely does Windows narrator simulate JAWS

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 10:22:30 -0800
Message-Id: <a05101008b8720b441bee@[]>
To: "Ken Reader" <kreader@attaininc.org>, <jame_sj@yahoo.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 8:28 AM -0500 1/21/02, Ken Reader wrote:
>There are differences between the two. I am not going into specifics
>about the differences but would rather suggest that you try to test with
>as many screenreaders as possible and to have individuals with
>disabilities do the testing as well.  You can download demo versions of
>just about any of the screenreaders that are available instead of buying
>them.  If you have individuals with disabilities doing testing they
>might be willing to use their own software.

Unless you're already using a screenreader (which probably means you're
blind or visually impaired) or are willing to spend a great deal of
time to become proficient with one -- say, using it as your primary
web/computer access method for several weeks -- then I would recommend
against anything other than the most CURSORY testing using unfamiliar

It is VERY easy to get led astray and make the wrong conclusions based
on lack of proficiency with JAWS, et al, or even based on lack of
knowledge of the configuration options.

What do I recommend to non-screenreader-using web developers?

1.  Use IBM's Home Page Reader as a testing tool, but don't take
     your experience as gospel.  It is great software itself, but
     you, as someone who has not invested the time to master the
     program, are not a good judge.

2.  Locate some users with disabilities and beg/coerce/bribe/pay
     them to test your web site with their assistive technology.
     This is not just "see if this is accessible" -- create an
     actual simple user test (a la Nielsen) and ask them to
     perform common site tasks in addition to just checking out
     the site.  Take THESE experiences as gospel.

I can't underemphasize how important testing with real disabled
users is.  All the simulations, use-by-non-proficient-users, Bobby
checks, and WCAG guidelines don't tell you much if "that blind guy
over there" can't access your site.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                 http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain            http://idyllmtn.com
Web Accessibility Expert-for-hire          http://kynn.com/resume
January Web Accessibility eCourse           http://kynn.com/+d201
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Received on Monday, 21 January 2002 13:55:07 UTC

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