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Front End Developers and ATs


From: David Ashleydale
Date: Aug 28, 2013 5:28PM


I started out my current job as a front-end developer (FED), but later
branched out into managing an accessibility program. But I remember that
when I was a developer, I used to keep a copy of JAWS on a computer nearby
for testing. To me, even if I were following HTML standards, I never really
felt *confident* that what I was coding would work well for a screen reader
user unless I tried it out myself. JAWS was one of my developer tools.

It was very similar to browser testing. If I was told that I had to support
IE, Firefox, Chrome, or whatever, I can't imagine not trying the page out
in the browsers I was supporting. Even if I knew I was coding to standard
and I had done it a million times before, I would still want to try it out
when I was done.

I'm thinking of recommending that all FEDs at the company I work at acquire
and learn how to use an AT or two as part of their development toolkit. I'd
love to hear this group's thoughts on whether or not that seems impractical
or perhaps even unnecessary. Or is this something that all FEDs should be
doing as part of their job?

Of course, my follow up question is: Which ATs would form a good
(cost-effective) development toolkit?