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Re: screenreader feature comparison?


From: Birkir RĂșnar Gunnarsson
Date: Oct 29, 2010 4:54PM

Well, if you were to test with a screen reader I'd test with NVDA.
It is free, is comparible to Jaws as far as internet browsing and such
goes (outperforms Jaws in a few tests we did) and is kind of the
common denominator.
I know some people on this list do not agree, but I find it highly
questionable whether to solely test with a screen reader that costs
the user anywhere from 500 to 2000 dollars (based on the area of the
work, taxes and dealer networks, in Iceland, for instance, the price
of Jaws is over 3K). Not that Jaws is nt great software but it is
certainly not available to everyone and then you ask yourself what
version of Jaws to use.
Jaws prior to 10 does not deal with Aria (I believe) nor does it cope
particularly well with Flash, but for many users it is perfectly
adequate to use older versions of Jaws and then use NVDA when they
have to use a page or other feature that requires compatibility with
the latest standards.
Finally, in Europe you have much higher Hal market share and Hal
handles the internet differently from Jaws (I do not have official
figures to back this up but you could, for instance, ask the RNIB if
they have screen reader usage statistics).
So if you are writing a page that is likely to be viewed by
international visitors you need to keep the market shares in different
continents in mind.
Window Eyes seems strong in the U.S. and in Austria and Germany, Jaws
and Hal seem fairly evenly split in Scandenavia with very little
Window Eyes presents as far as I am aware and I simply have no idea
what France does or Italy (though Italy seems Jaws centric).
So, to me, the most natural thing to test with a page is a screen
reader that is open source and available to all, plus it does not cost
you anything.
Of course I would test with Jaws too, seeing as it is, still, the most
popular and advanced screen reader on the market.
In the ideal world I would also look at Safari on either an iPhone or
on an Apple computer. They handle the internet quite differently,
lacking in some areas (you wouldn't believe it, but they do not seem
to support flash) and are an increasingly popular choice for users,
especially on the iPhone.
Going to CSUN this year was surreal in that at least every other
person had an iPhone.
Hope some of these musings help.

On 10/29/10, Hoffman, Allen < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> Code to a standard, not a screen reader.
> If you were comparing screen reader features like you describe you'd end
> up with screen reader, version, feature. Its not that there are so
> aweful many screen readers, JAWS, Windows eyes, HAL, NVDA, thunder,
> cobra, Apple voiceOver, about covers it, but then you throw in versions,
> JAWS 4-12, Windows eyes 5-7, HAL ??, NVDA ?? Where does it end. I
> think it's a much worse proposition than browser compatability testing
> is, and that is hassle enough. Then do you test browser compat and
> screen reader combos?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Katherine Mancuso [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
> Sent: Thursday, October 28, 2010 6:11 PM
> Subject: [WebAIM] screenreader feature comparison?
> Anyone have a source that compares how various screenreaders interpret
> pages, or screenreader features, or something like that? I need a
> little
> more evidence to back up the assertion "no, don't just buy JAWS and test
> with it, also test with at least one other screenreader" for my
> coworkers.
> I thought that for sure this would be an easy google find, but it isn't.
> Thanks,
> Katherine