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Re: Monitoring JAWS adoption trends for testing/support


From: Robinson, Norman B - Washington, DC
Date: Feb 26, 2007 11:50AM


Yes. We have had discussed such issues, specifically with JAWS
7.X and when upgrading from versions to versions. Screen readers are
software. The vendor produces new versions and break things, as well as
they try to adapt to the changing environment of the operating system
itself. I have seen newer versions of the software that didn't provide
the same degree of access, but consider those defects in the screen
reader. That still required the vendor to issue a patch or upgrade their
screen reader or self-contained scripts.

As to users versus testing: if you don't control your users
selection of technologies then you will encounter incompatibilities. The
only approach you can take is somewhat hostile to the end-users; declare
an officially supported version and thus encourage them to use that
version, else they don't get the same level of support. This gets
particularly awkward when users have the expectation that the software
is required for basic access. This is usually true, but in the same way
that organizations standardize on one word processor, you can have more
quality controls if you have consistency by either establishing one
version or establishing standards all versions must comply with to be

That isn't to say I don't side with the user! The user needs
access and generally speaking the newer versions are 'better'. However,
if you trust the vendor's newest version is better based on the vendor's
recommendation alone, then you better ensure the vendor is going to
support you. As far as I know, they'll never do that without a formal
contractual arrangement and no matter how much you love your vendor,
you'll be better off building the expertise in-house.


Norman B. Robinson
Section 508 Coordinator
IT Governance, US Postal Service
phone: 202.268.8246

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of
Sent: Thursday, February 22, 2007 5:30 PM
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Monitoring JAWS adoption trends for

Thank you very much Alastair, Lonie, and Norman for your responses.

Alastair: We do in fact use a layered approach to our Dev/Testing by
having a Developer run Bobby against the code (1st layer) to catch most
the low hanging fruit, and then some, looking to bake accessibility into

the product before it even gets to QA. The JAWS testing my team does is

primarily to test the user experience, and secondarily accessibility, as
check and balance for the work Dev does.

Norman: You made a comment that you stay behind a version or 2 on
because if it works in an older version, it must work in a newer one. I

actually thought the same thing, but what is interesting (and quite
ironic) is that I had a production trouble ticket come to me today with
user complaining about issues using JAWS 7.1. Apparently our App
person told the user to just downgrade to v6.1, which is what we
test and support for our product, and of course the user refused. I am
going to have to dig into the specifics of the issue... maybe it's just
isolated case and exception to the rule?

I understand what everyone is saying about using and testing different
technologies, but the truth is when you have extremely limited
and can only support 1 version, you are forced to go with the majority
anyone can ever figure that out).


Costa Avradopoulos
Manager, Software Quality
Ecommerce - Product Development

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