Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Del.icio.us and JAWS

Today I thought I'd try out that nifty little social bookmarking site known as Del.icio.us with JAWS. I was more pleasantly surprised than irked for a change! I have to say I'm learning a lot about navigating the web without sight and it's helping my JAWS knowledge as well. Whoever would have thought I'd be able to spend so much time using Web 2.0 at work and it be relevant!

OK, some things about Del.icio.us:

  1. Navigation - not bad! Not heavy on graphics and quite linear so JAWS read through lists quite happily. I managed to get to the login page and login and read my pathetic three links. Only niggle is the vertical bar which separates the navigation links at the top and occassionally elsewhere on the page- aggggghhhhhh!!!! It reads out as "vertical bar" and is quite annoying!

  2. Missing heading number 2 - when I went through the headings list, there seems to be no mention of heading level 2. Heading level 1 and heading level 3 and 4 are all present and correct, but not heading level 2. Seems that they have not considered that they could change the size of the headings so that they could use the heading levels correctly.
  3. They do have alt text for the images, but this then unfortunately means that there are a lot of repeated links when JAWS is just running through the page for the first time.

In general I thought it worked OK with JAWS. Nothing is ever going to be perfect and it's certainly easier to navigate around than Facebook and there is not the heavy reliance on tables as others. The real niggle is that vertical bar - is it really necessary? Would anyone notice if it went missing?


Emma said...

How does JAWS get on with the tag clouds and bundled tags?

Ruth said...

I confess the vertical bar drove me so nuts I stopped testing early! I'll give it a go tomorrow. I tested Aquabrowser with JAWS a couple of months ago and it worked OK with the tag clouds. I expect it'll work better with bundled tags than a cloud, but you never know!

Brian said...

Hi Ruth
Have you used any other AT besides JAWS. At a Web conference in Edinburgh a few years ago various Web developers complained that JAWS was the IE of the AT world - they fail to implement relevant UAAG standards or support accessibility hooks in HTML, CSS, AJAX, etc.
Perhap we should be promoting standards-compiant accessibility aids more - and there are various useful tools, especially free plugins for Firefox.

Brian Kelly, UKOLN

Ruth said...

I'm aiming really to get a feel for accessibility issues myself through tools that most of our students use. JAWS may be like IE, but it's also extremely popular, despite its cost and failings, and one our students use.

I do agree we should be promoting standards compliant accessibility aids and I will be searching out alternatives to JAWS - have you ever used Windows Eyes or Thunder (which is free)?

I'm just starting on the accessibility path, so am hoping to learn much more in the coming months.