So, web developers need to get a copy of JAWS to know that their web site sounds right? As covered in a previous post, this is not necessarily the case (although it is undoubtedly a ‘nice-to-have’). As Mark points out, we should develop to standards, not to specific technology (otherwise we would all be developing for IE/Win and nothing else); he also suggests some other resources that developers can, and should, try out if they cannot afford a full copy of JAWS.
This morning I was going to re-purpose an earlier piece I wrote ‘Accessibility Testing On A Budget‘ to focus purely on the specifics of screen readers and to further address the current JAWS debate. However, I noticed this morning that Kynn Bartlett (who was very opposed to the petition’s existence) has somewhat reduced the neccessity for such a piece with his piece ‘A Web Designer’s Guide To JAWS‘. Topics include ‘How can I design for JAWS?’, ‘What are my alternatives to JAWS?’, ‘How do I get JAWS users to test my site?’
Meanwhile, W3C and WAI bod Matt May suggests that Freedom Scientific, the makers of JAWS, could at the very least offer a web-based service that spits out speech like a real copy of JAWS would. It might not be ideal for more interactive sites (and by that I mean where the users has to do anything above simply sitting back and listening, e.g. filling in a form), but it would be a step in the right direction.
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