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Re: Screen Readers as a Development Tool for Web Developers


From: Moore,Michael (HHSC)
Date: Jul 28, 2015 8:23AM

I always love it when developers complain about the cost of tools to determine if what they build can be used by everyone - but the rant can wait for later.

First some alternatives:

As Joseph pointed out the JAWS demo version is fully functional in 40 min mode and as pointed out in the comments of the original blog post you can use it to evaluate whether it would meet your needs as a testing tool. How long and detailed your evaluation phase is, probably gets you into a gray area. The download page for the demo version does not list any licensing restrictions currently.

If you have Microsoft Office (cost $400) AI Squared will allow you to download and use a fully functional copy of Window Eyes. http://www.windoweyesforoffice.com/ This is a darn good fully functional screen reader but does not have as large a market share as JAWS.

Joseph mentioned that NVDA is available to download for free from NV Access. http://www.nvaccess.org/ Continued development of this product is dependent upon donations from those of us who use it. Set your own price.

VoiceOver is included in OSX with the price of a Mac ($1000+). The market share for people who are blind is still relatively low.

The cost of JAWS relative to other developer tools is not exorbitant. $800-$1000 and you can keep it current by purchasing an SMA for about $120 per year. (for comparison Adobe Creative Cloud is about $600 per year) Seriously, what did those Macs cost? Did your company through in a few 4K displays for the designers? How about your Creative Cloud licenses from Adobe, Microsoft Office professional, adding Windows OS and how many other tools?

Mechanics don’t complain (too loudly) about the need to purchase special tools to complete a single repair on one make of car. Carpenters, plumbers, electricians all have specialized tools that they only need for certain jobs - some are quite expensive and friend of mine in those professions are usually quick to show me new ones when they get them.

People balk at the cost of JAWS and think that Freedom should supply a "developer" version at lower cost. I guess that the discount should be supported by increasing the cost to blind users who's median income must be well above that of us poor underpaid web developers.

Show a little pride in your toolbox. Add a nice shiny new license for JAWS 16 and show it off to all of your friends. Buy an SMA and be the first one on your team to master JAWS 17 when its released.

Mike Moore
Accessibility Coordinator
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Civil Rights Office
(512) 438-3431 (Office)
(512) 574-0091 (Cell)

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Joseph Sherman
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2015 8:37 AM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Screen Readers as a Development Tool for Web Developers

Hi Sean. Let me start by saying I do not use JAWS trial. However, I think there are two different issues. The trial version of JAWS is fully functional for the 40 minute time limit, so when you say “nothing was getting announced”, that is not related to the trail version. The blog post you link to below refers to the terms of the JAWS EULA, which states that the trial version cannot be used for web testing. It is a licensing restriction, not a product feature restriction.

Also note that NVDA is a free, open source screen reader that can be used for testing.


-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Sean Curtis
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2015 10:09 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Screen Readers as a Development Tool for Web Developers

As a developer doing quite a lot of cross browser and cross AT testing of web components, it was quite frustrating to find that the trial version of JAWS does not allow you to test web pages ( http://webaim.org/blog/jaws-license-not-developer-friendly/). I wish I'd read that before wasting an hour trying to work out what I'd done wrong when setting it up and nothing was getting announced.

I'm also lucky enough to work at a company that can afford $1000+ for a license so we can test our software. I did contact FS in regards to this, but they do not hand out free licenses to developers. I'm just thankful that most of our devs use OSX, so VoiceOver is readily available for them to do some basic Accessibility Testing of components before pushing their commits.


Sean Curtis