Screenreaders and javascript

I’ve just listened to the podcast of the Web Standards Group meeting on May 17
in particular Steve Faulkners session on screenreaders and ajax and feel compelled to say a few things in addition to what has already been said by Bruce Lawson Mike Davis and others So, here goes.
First off, Steve is I’m sure right about what are the dominant screenreaders in the US and possibly australia but not quite so in the UK. Hal which he mentions as a 3rd runner is in fact much more commonly used over here than Window Eyes. W-E infact has a bit of a reputation as the tool of techis although as more people become frustrated with the perceived poor support from Freedom Scientific, makers of Jaws this is on the move a little. The Hal screenreader made by Dolphin systems, a UK company (which is also available in a screenreader / screen magnifier configuration called SuperNova) is although probably somewhere behind Jaws in popularity certainly 3 or 4 times more popular than W-E and so for UK developers most certainly a significant factor. This is unfortunately (in the context of Steves talk) bad rather than good news as although Hal does use the same virtual / browse concept as the other Two it is if anything further behind the other Two in terms of conformance.

re the issue of screenreaders and costs which some one raised, and here I am in agreement with Steve, there is minimal value in rushing out to buy, but what you get is the latest version licence which is backwared compatible with all previous versions so you can quite legitimately run every version to date should you so wish under teh one licence. My main reason for agreeing with Steve here though is nothing to do with cost but rather that as someone who doesn’t depend on the screenreader to get around an application you will never use it in the same way as some one who has that dependancy. Even Steve, who demonstrated considerable familiarity with Jaws during his presentation came a bit unstuck. Follow PAS78 and get someone who knows the tool to test it for you. access-matters is one site where you can post sample pages and ask those who do have the tools to do the work for you, and or learn from other posted samples. This is getting a bit lengthy now so I think I’ll leave other points for a new post.

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One Response to “Screenreaders and javascript”

  1. juicing machine Says:

    Your style is unique in comparison to other folks I have read stuff from.
    Many thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this site.

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