In my last article I suggested using personas to help teach accessibility, especially to other front-end developers. Another approach is to show how real people use assistive technologies and the common problems they face and to share findings from user testing and research.
Victor Tsaran: An Introduction to Screen Readers (Video, 27 minutes) 2007
In this video from 2007, Yahoo! Accessibility Program Manager Victor Tsaran shows us the core functionality of screen readers and how they interact with the desktop, then demonstrates how he uses them to explore and understand web sites, how sites are “linearized”, and how using semantic markup to build sites supports accessible navigation and usability.
- Videos of screen readers using ARIA (14 videos) October 2011
Recordings of screen readers using web page components that do and do not make use of WAI-ARIA can be a good educational resource for why ARIA is important to accessibility. A collection of such video collated by Zoe Mickley Gillenwater.
Understanding the purpose of an image using alt text (Video, 3 mins) September 2011
A quick tutorial on how to provide alt text for different sorts of images in such a way that people using assistive technologies will be able to understand the purpose of the image.
How ARIA landmark roles help screen reader users (Video, 2 mins) June 2011
Léonie Watson from Nomensa demonstrates how ARIA landmark roles help screen reader users understand the purpose of different areas of a web page, such as search, navigation or main content.
Using the lang attribute (Video, 3 mins) April 2011
Matt Lawson from Nomensa demonstrates how the lang attribute affects how text sounds in a screen reader.
Order of content (Video, 3 mins) March 2011
Emily Coward from Nomensa demonstrates the importance of making sure the order of content on a website is logical to ensure that it makes sense when it’s read through from top to bottom by someone using a screen reader.
Demo of JAWS Screen Reader (Video, 27 mins) March 2011
Peggy Hoover, an employee from the College of Health and Human Development, demonstrates how she uses JAWS to navigate Penn State services.
- Demo on JAWS Screen Reader, Part 2 (Testing Sites) (Video, 28 mins) March 2011 Michael Brooks of World Campus provides a description of some accessibility issues for a screen reader witihin an interactive Web site and how they could be addressed in HTML.
Robin Christopherson: Designing for All in a Web 2.0 World (Video, 30 mins) 2009
A presentation given at the Future of Web Design, London 2009. Robin uses a screen reader and selection of websites with varying levels of text and multimedia content to give some demonstrations of good and bad practice in terms of accessibility compliance.
Google News: How User-Friendly is It for the Blind? (PDF) 2011
Abstract: Being able to read text, find out information and know about the latest news has always been a challenge for those who cannot access the printed version, such as the visually-impaired. The advent of the Web has been a big step in the right direction for blind people to obtain up-to-date information on the internet. Many portals and Web sites offer online services for up-to-date news. In this paper our aim is to evaluate how easy and rewarding it is for blind people to access this. For this purpose, we are focusing on the well-known online service provided by Google, i.e. Google News as a case study. In order to truly benefit from access to the information available on the Web, the page interface must be simple and easy to use by everyone, including people who have to use assistive technologies. In this work we analyze not only the accessibility of the service offered by Google for its News, but also in particular the usability when interacting via screen reader.
A Modified Google Docs UI accessible via screen reader (PDF) 2011
Abstract: Collaborative editors are simple tools that enable people to create, share and exchange documents via Internet, quickly enhancing learning, knowledge and socialization. However, at present collaborative software is designed with little attention to the needs of differently-abled persons, such as the blind. Dynamic user interfaces and visual features delivering meaning may be inaccessible via screen reader, if an appropriate design is not adopted. In this demo we show a prototype of some modified Google Docs User Interfaces (UIs) — for accessing and editing a document — that allow full accessibility via JAWS screen reader. An interaction with the original and modified UIs is shown to highlight barriers and possible solutions for their elimination.
Screen Reader User Survey #3 Results WebAIM, February 2011
1245 valid responses
More than Meets the Eye: A Survey of Screen-Reader Browsing Strategies (PDF) 2009
Abstract: Browsing the Web with screen readers can be difficult and frustrating. Web pages often contain inaccessible content that is expressed only visually or that can be accessed only with the mouse. Screen-reader users must also contend with usability challenges encountered when the reading content is designed with built-in assumptions of how it will be accessed – generally by a sighted person on a standard display. Far from passive consumers of content who simply accept web content as accessible or not, many screen-reader users are adept at developing, discovering, and employing browsing strategies that help them overcome the accessibility and usability problems they encounter. In this paper, we overview the browsing strategies that we have observed screen-reader users employ when faced with challenges, ranging from unfamiliar web sites and complex web pages to dynamic and automatically-refreshing content. A better understanding of existing browsing strategies can inform the design of accessible websites, development of new tools that make experienced users more effective, and help overcome the initial learning curve for users who have not yet acquired effective browsing strategies.
Usability and Accessibility of eBay by Screen Reader (PDF) 2009
The evolution of Information and Communication Technology and the rapid growth of the Internet have fuelled a great diffusion of eCommerce websites. Usually these sites have complex layouts crowded with active elements, and thus are difficult to navigate via screen reader. Interactive environments should be properly designed and delivered to everyone, including the blind, who usually use screen readers to interact with their computers. In this paper we investigate the interaction of blind users with eBay, a popular eCommerce website, and discuss how using the W3C Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) suite could improve the user experience when navigating via screen reader.
Screen Reader User Survey #2 Result WebAIM, October 2009
665 valid responses
Screen Reader User Survey #1 Result WebAIM, January 2009
1121 valid responses
Coping Strategy Pattern Identificatio (PDF) 2008
Conclusion: People with visual impairments are hindered when accessing content on the World Wide Web (Web) as it is not designed with their needs in mind. As such many visually impaired users develop coping strategies that allow them to access Web content. In this paper we have used three independent data sources and identified the low level coping strategies using a definition of coping that we have created in previous works. From those low level strategies we have identified six recurring abstract patterns that describe the processes that are involved with the coping strategies …
Source Order, Skip links and Structural labels 2005
Abstract: Is page source order important to screen reader users? Recently, the idea of placing the informational content of a web page before the navigation has gained some currency. This paper reports on our research into the relevance and importance of page source order, skip links and structural labels for screen reader users.
Guidelines for Accessible and Usable Web Sites: Observing Users Who Work With Screen Readers 2003
Conclusion: To truly meet the needs of all users, it is not enough to have guidelines that are based on technology. It is also necessary to understand the users and how they work with their tools. For example, just realizing that vision-impaired users do not listen to the entire page is critical for designing usable pages for them. In this paper, we have developed guidelines for bringing accessibility and usability together based on observing, listening to, and talking with blind users as they work with Web sites and their screen readers.
- Pro HTML5 Accessibility (Book) April 2012
Rough Guide: browsers, operating systems and screen reader support Steve Faulkner
Practical screen reader support by browser and OS (09/03/2012)
- Accessibility testing – Establishing a screen reader test plan Henny Swan, Feb 2011
Should Sighted Developers Use Screenreaders To Test Accessibility? 2010
Good discussion and comments at the end of the article, especially those with concrete example of why developers should be using screen readers to test accessibility.
- Setting up a screen reader test environment Henny Swan, Feb 2009
- Configuring Your Machine For Testing With A Screen Reader Yahoo User Interface Blog, Dec 2008
- Testing with Screen Readers: Questions and Answers WebAIM
- Designing for Screen Reader Compatibility WebAIM
- Seven Screen Reader Usability Tips Sitepoint, 2005
- A11y Buzz – Screen Readers
- Jason Kiss’ Blog – Tag: Screen Readers
- Comparison of screen readers Wikipedia
- JAWS website
- Surfing the Internet with JAWS and MAGic!
- Using JAWS to Evaluate Web Accessibility WebAIM
- Keyboard Shortcuts for JAWS WebAIM
- JAWS Support for ARIAThe Paciello Group Blog, 2010
- How JAWS reads textThe Paciello Group Blog, 2008
- NVDA Website
- Using NVDA to Evaluate Web Accessibility WebAIM
- Keyboard Shortcuts for NVDA WebAIM
- Easy Accessibility Testing with the NVDA Screen Reader Yahoo Developer Blog, Dec 2009
- How to use NVDA and Firefox to test your web pages for accessibility Marco Zehe, 2009
Let me know what you think. Do you know of any other useful links?