Friday, 9 January 2009

Interesting inconsistency in JAWS

JAWS for Windows has long been regarded as one of the most commonly used screen readers on MS Windows (along with WindowEyes), especially in the US. Recently, while assisting someone with a JAWS for Windows install I noticed a very strange and illogical issue.

While making some global adjustments to the voice settings, I noticed that while the visual presentation of the global adjustments window shows a numeric value for the speaking rate, the spoken feedback while changing the rate was reflecting a percentage.

When you consider that even a company like Freedom Scientific fails to provide consistency in the auditory rendering of its own screen reader software, it is no surprise that accessibility issues with software are so common. It also shows that a basic rendering of controls is not sufficient in terms of making a user interface accessible. The semantic meaning of the control is important as well.

My experience with JAWS was surprising to say the least.

No comments: