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Re: AT Standards Support


From: Wayne Dick
Date: Feb 12, 2010 1:39AM

I spent a few days looking into standards for
assistive technologies and found nothing that
really required effectiveness testing.

For example, how effective are screen readers as
interventions for access to print for blindness.
There seems to be a complete lack of clinical
trials even though these products purport to treat
reading loss caused by visual impairment.

We know that technically sophisticated people
benefit from screen readers, but what about other
people with blindness. That is who is helped by
these treatments and who is not, and is there any
clinically sound material available to advise
potential users of effectiveness for a given user.

We have testimonial, but that is not science.
Moreover, we don't have ethnographic information
on the providers of these testimonial.

Screen readers are just one class of AT. I have
about 20 DOA assistive technologies (mostly
magnification) in my closet.

For example, with AT for reading one must know how
many a users can finish a 400 page book using this

So, maybe the need is greater than just standards,
maybe it is really consumer protection.

Tim Harshbarger wrote:
> Are there any web-based communities that are working together to document how well different AT products and product versions support the various standards and accessibility frameworks?
> Over the past few months, I have noticed several comments from various groups that lead me to believe there may be a need for this. However, I am uncertain that there is any specific community spending a lot of time on this--other than what I have seen here. Is anyone aware of any?
> If there isn't one, anyone interested in working together to create something? It could become a good resource for developers who are trying to figure out why an application is not working or it might be a way to work together collectively to help AT vendors improve their products.
> Tim