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Re: Front End Developers and ATs

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From: Léonie Watson
Date: Aug 29, 2013 1:59AM


David Ashleydale wrote:
"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"

It's a great idea for developers to experience different assistive
technologies. One thing needs to be made very clear to them though: It's not
a good idea to base design decisions only on their experiences, or based on
the behaviours of a specific technology.

It's 101 for people on this list, but I came up against a classic example
recently. A developer who had downloaded Jaws and was using it to explore
the website he was building.

The developer was on the brink of rewriting lots of text content to reduce
the amount of punctuation that was spoken by the screen reader, not
realising that punctuation settings are among the most commonly changed by
Jaws users, or that other screen readers have a less verbose punctuation
setting as default. In doing so he would have altered the grammatical
quality of the content, unintentionally having an impact on other people.

Léonie.





-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED>
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of David Ashleydale
Sent: 29 August 2013 00:29
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] Front End Developers and ATs

Hi,

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?

Thanks!
David
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