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Re: AT Standards Support


From: Hoffman, Allen
Date: Feb 16, 2010 4:57PM

While a scientific evaluation of effectiveness of accessing information
via various AT products, for people with various disabilities may
identify some patterns, knowing what level various AT products support
accessibility frameworks would go a long way towards highlighting the
utility of such frameworks, or highlighting why AT doesn't work so well.
To my knowledge such documentation is not part of standard AT product
information. It should be, since that is in some cases critical to
determining the utility of the AT for a particular task and IT

So, if an AT doesn't support, UIA for example, and that is absolutely
required to effectively use an application, don't buy the AT that
doesn't support UIA.

-----Original Message-----
From: Wayne Dick [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Friday, February 12, 2010 2:38 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] AT Standards Support

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
> Tim