WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Assistive Technologies / ScreenReaders&GoogleAnalytics


From: Tim Harshbarger
Date: Feb 22, 2014 2:05PM

I would suggest that you ask a couple questions. First, what would you do differently if you knew a user was utilizing assistive technology to access your site? Second, what prevents you from integrating that functionality/accessibility into your "mainstream" design?

If you are newer to accessibility, it is understandable that you might find creating a separate interface to be alluring. When you first start trying to design and develop with accessibility in mind, every design and development decision can seem very challenging. As you develop experience with accessibility, you will find that most of the design and development decisions are truthfully very easy.

While there are techniques that can make the creation and maintenance of separate views that provide the same functionality easier to do, it still increases your design, development, and testing time. So, short term it might seem like a great idea, but long term it will likely cost you more. So, you will want to seriously consider if you want to take on the long term costs.

If you find yourself facing a design/development decision where creating a separate interface seems the only option, I would offer 2 suggestions. First, consider seriously redesigning the interface. Second, if you have no other choice but to create the separate design, then offer the user the choice of which one to use.

There really isn't any great way to figure out who is using which AT and which version of the AT. So, personalization is your best bet. By personalization, I mean either adding functionality to the page that allows the user to switch the view on that page or provide a place on the site where the user can optimize personalization's for their own user experience.

If you go the personalization route, I am going to recommend that you avoid labelling personalization options with terms like "Screen Reader" or "Blind" or "Deaf" or whatever. Instead label them with the functionality they provide. One of the secrets of accessibility is that it isn't about disability but about functionality. Providing close captions for a video isn't just about people who are deaf, but about people who have problems perceiving or understanding the audio track of a video. By labelling these options by the functionality you are providing, you increase the likelihood they will be used by people who can benefit from them.

I have my own strong opinions on whether or not AT usage should be trackable...however, I've not come across any compelling case for developing that ability. So, until someone can make a strong case for why tracking AT usage would be beneficial to the end user's experience, I suspect it really seems like functionality that has no real value.


-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Angela French
Sent: Friday, February 21, 2014 11:27 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Assistive Technologies / Screen Readers & Google Analytics

I am a statistic of Google Analytics anytime I visit a site, but am I tracked or am I anonymous as far as the device I accessed a site from goes?
I think the word tracking may not be the correct word. Shouldn't the question be "Is it possible to identify the use of an AT device, much like we can identify PC vs mobile?"

Angela French

-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Greg Gamble
Sent: Friday, February 21, 2014 7:35 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Assistive Technologies / Screen Readers & Google Analytics

Well, how do they now a wheelchair can access it then? I'd think they (people with disabilities), would care less if they are tracked. So long as they are not singled out and the information is used correctly, why would they? And how would those who are trying to make things, "just work", do that if they didn't know what to make work or what did work?

I'm not an expert on this, but I have an acquaintances that uses AT and she could care less on how things are made, so long as it works for her. So identifying and tracking those individuals makes sense to me ... so long as it's not used in a discriminatory way. IMO


-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Clark, Michelle - NRCS, Washington, DC
Sent: Friday, February 21, 2014 6:01 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Assistive Technologies / Screen Readers & Google Analytics

I agree. It is similar to making sure there is a wheelchair ramp and the door is whide enough for the chair to enter. The law says it should be that way and should be the end of it.



-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Karl Groves
Sent: Friday, February 21, 2014 8:52 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Assistive Technologies / Screen Readers & Google Analytics

This topic comes up occasionally and the general consensus is basically "why can't people just make their sites accessible?"

Here's a post I wrote on the subject:
which I say:

"Finally, there's the question of ethics surrounding detecting users with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are a protected class according to ADA and similar anti-discrimination laws worldwide. Users may be highly resistant to having their disabilities identified as they go throughout the web. Most persons with disabilities would really just rather that *the Web just work* for them. "

On Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 3:04 AM, Ravindra Kumar Jain
< <EMAIL REMOVED> >wrote:

> HI all,
> I have gone through sites to search if their is a definite way to
> track if the person using Assistive Technology like screen reader can
> be tracked using Google Analytics or any other way. Also gone through
> this previous discussion @ webaim
> http://webaim.org/discussion/mail_thread?threadR59
> and Stackoverflow
> http://stackoverflow.com/questions/18190572/using-javascript-how-can-y
> ou-track-if-a-website-visitor-is-using-a-screen-reade
> But till now mostly the answer is negative , as said in the above
> posts that assistive technology like Screen Reader is a totally
> different program altogether.
> My question is this
> "Can't Companies like Google (Analytics) and Screen Reader
> manufacturers like Freedom Scientific (JAWS), Apple (voiceover),
> nvaccess (nvda) and Accessibility Api's Specialist like Microsoft
> (msaa), Linux (ATK) , and Apple ( Mac OS X Accessibility Protocol)
> come up with a solution for tracking persons using screen readers with
> analytics ? "
> Is it so difficult ? Is their already some work going on in this
> direction ?
> Can't the Screen Reader manufacturers embed a code in the users system
> for installing a plugin after running setup to track persons using
> AT's like screen readers with google analytics?
> I am sure this will definitely help a lot for everyone.
> Thanks ,
> Ravindra Kumar Jain
> > > list messages to <EMAIL REMOVED>


Karl Groves
Phone: +1 410.541.6829
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