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Re: Monitoring JAWS adoption trends for testing/support


From: Alastair Campbell
Date: Feb 21, 2007 3:00AM

Costa Avradopoulos wrote:
> data does not appear to exist (anywhere that I have looked
> thus far) for screen readers,

Hi Costa,

In five years of keeping an eye out for that kind of data, I have yet to
find a source.

In retrospect, I actually think this is a good thing, for exactly the
reasons your company wants this data:

> My company has decided to test and support only 1 screen reader,
> and that is JAWS.

Although it's good that your company is checking for accessibility,
using a particular user agent (screen reader in this case) to make
decisions can do more harm than good, especially if you are not a
regular user of that technology.

There are hundreds of possible technologies that people can use, each
with their own interaction style. Using only one could lead you to make
design choices in one particular way. That way may not help people using
other technologies.

Hopefully I'm not stating the obvious, but that is why the W3C created
the guidelines [1], which even after 8 years are still a pretty good way
of improving the accessibility of a web site. (Although I generally
consider most of the 'until user agent' ones not applicable anymore.)

In terms of your goals, I would try and fulfil them with:
1. An initial scoping exercise after reading the guidelines, that leads
to carefully considered changes.
NB: Read about the techniques as well as the guidelines [3]).

2. Creating a prototype or set of templates based on those changes
that you test with:
a. Technical checks against the guidelines [2].
b. Any available user-agents, preferably with people that use
them day-to-day.

I know that's not quite what you asked for, but I hope it helps...

Kind regards,


1. http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/full-checklist.html
2. http://www.webaim.org/articles/evaluatingwithfirefox/
3. http://www.webaim.org/articles/

Kind regards,


Alastair Campbell | Director of User Experience

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