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Re: best screen readers for browser testing


From: Lee Davis
Date: Jun 19, 2002 2:41AM

Hi All

Various people wrote:
>Jaws and Window eyes is allot of money for strictly testing. For
>accessibility testing use a combination of Lynks, Opra, and validation tools.
>A package like Jaws will not help you much if you do not really understand how
>a screen reader user navigates.

>The reality of
>the situation at this point is that you need to test with one or more AT
>software programs, in my opinion.

The software is expensive but one of the problems we have is persuading web
developers that
there is a problem at all. Hence why we need to get them using something to
check their
pages. On the other hand, as you say, JAWS et al need experience and a lot of
use before you can really get anywhere.

IBM HPR is a middle route as it is easy to use and does help demonstrate
quite nicely. On the other hand I agree that we should not rely on one
piece of software
as being a 'standard'. It may well be that HPR is the easiest thing to use
for web developers
to use for testing but is perhaps not the most common program used by the
disabled. So
we could end up with the situation where pages seem fine in HPR but not JAWS!

Another issue that bugs us is exactly how far we need to go; true - pages
should be designed
with universal accessibility but, surely, only to the extent that we know
of that causes problems.
For example, all this linearising of layout tables stuff. We used to be
told that screen readers
simply read *across the screen, line by line* but this is no longer true,
is it? Most AT programs
now read *cell by cell* don't they? Lynx, HPR etc do this, so are layout
tables actually
as problematic as they once were?

I think the following is a good discussion of tables:


Should there not also be some onus on heavy users of AT programs to keep
their software up to date?


=======================================================================Lee Davis, IT Services, University of Exeter
Tel: +44-(0)1392-263960
Fax: +44-(0)1392-211630
WWW: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/
Post: Laver Building, North Park Road, Exeter, Devon, EX4 4QE, UK.

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