[bct] Re: Should we do a chat on improving software accessibility?

  • From: "Vince Thacker" <vince@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 13 May 2006 00:13:51 +0100

That's all very well, Robert, but if I knew what window reclassifications were I'd probably be doing something else than answering this. I'm afraid I just use stuff, I don't engineer it.


----- Original Message -----

From: "Robert Riddle" <captinlogic@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2006 11:12 AM
Subject: [bct] Re: Should we do a chat on improving software accessibility?

Most software is quite accessible. But what's accessible to one person isn't for another. For example, there's a program called flashfxp that, upon installation, doesn't look all that accessible. HOwever, all it needs is a couple of window reclassifications and it works like a charm. In short, most program inaccessibility (nice eight dollar word there eh?) can be boiled down to lazy users or just plain old user error. So before we whine about inacccessiblity to companies, see if you can reclass windows or controls in the program and determine if that helps the problem.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Krister Ekstrom" <krister@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2006 1:50 AM
Subject: [bct] Re: Should we do a chat on improving software accessibility?

Hash: RIPEMD160

Hi listers,
I know that what i say now is politically incorrect, and i will probably
get flamed to ashes for saying this, but i'll say it anyway.
Sure we could do a chat on how to communicate with companies and so
forth, but i think it won't change the situation a bit. Why? Because
we're actually a small fraction of the market and as the majority rules,
we won't get listened to. We may get heard, but we won't get listened
to. We can bash the companies all we want, and they'll probably say: "So
you're 20000? Well we have 8 gazillion people around the globe who use
and love our software, and if you don't or can't, well tough luck".
I'm not saying i like the situation, only that it is like that.
Only my 2 cents.

Tiffany Black wrote:
I think your chat's a good idea.

-----Original Message----- From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Debee Norling Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2006 10:27 PM To: Blindcooltech@Freelists. Org Subject: [bct] Should we do a chat on improving software accessibility?

Short version: a Saturday evening chat on strategies for communicating with
developers about how to make their software more accessible. Does this
interest people? Should I lead it?

Long version: I am in desperate need of a DVD-Writer. My husband has one if
I get super desperate, but I need one at work, where I scan books for a
living so need a way to archive them, no fuss, no muss. I'm sick and tired
of CDS and the Windows XP CD writing wizard.

So yeah, you're saying, shop for a DVD-Writer; do a little research, buy
one, get boss to reimburse you, problem solved.

Ok, so I shopped. I shopped in the store, I shopped online. There are a ton
of DVD-Writers out there.

Every single one comes bundled with some DVD-writing software. Some got Nero
6, some got Nero 7, some got Nero Express, some got Nero something else.
Some got a software suite from NTI. Some got a Roxio product. There about
twenty different versions of Roxio burning thingies. Many come with software
I've never heard of.

And by the way, when my husband, a sighted electrical engineer and
experienced computer user, installed a scaled-down Nero that came with his
writer, it dragged in a lot of junk like the Yahoo toolbar, which he didn't
want and had trouble removing. His Nero also clobbered Safe Mode, a known
bug he read about online, and it took him hours to get his system back to
the way it was before. I love bundled software!!!

So, already I've used about six different CD-burning programs and my
favorite one is the Linux command line tool. Rick did a great job with Nero,
but who knows if the Nero that comes with the DVD-Writer I buy is even close
to the Nero that he reviewed. The "express" and "limited" versions of a
product often have a completely different interface.

So, OK, I figure I'll just download some shareware and pick an accessible
burner that will probably work with the hardware I plan to buy. Yesterday I
downloaded and tried three programs, "Swift Burning Wizard" "Deep Burner"
and "Zip backup to CD". All were reviewed as having a very bare-bones
interface, using few system resources and being particularly good for
archiving files.

All of them wanted to "create projects" "create a data CD" "build a CD
Image" and were set up for you to drag and drop icons hither and thither.
They could create auto-run scripts and playlists and for all I know kitchen
sinks. Why does software have all this extra and unnecessary complexity! I
want to just select my files, and click a write to CD button. I don't want
to create projects and mess around with a ton of dialog boxes. I want the
program to be smart enough to cope when my data fills more than one CD. Like
why can't a program just tell you that it will need 4 CDS and start burning.

All three of these supposedly simple programs weren't simple, and more
important, were not very accessible. With a lot of poking around, I could
burn a CD, but to do it on a daily basis, in a busy work environment where I
am constantly interrupted, forget it!

Then I listened to Tony's cast about the inaccessibility of Spyware removers
-- I have a rebuttal for that, but that's a different story -- and I felt
very frustrated. The reality is that software is a lot less accessible than
it used to be.

So to fight back, we need to find ways to communicate with developers in
language they understand about the problem. It isn't enough to say, "Dear
Mr. Programmer: your software doesn't work with JAWS". We need to tell them
exactly what doesn't work, why and how to fix it.

I propose that since I like to write, and know how to program, sort of
anyway,  that I write a draft letter to developers and then we do a
brainstorming chat and all attempt to improve it.

Once we have a good letter, we can easily tailor it for our individual
needs, and send it off to developers when we try to use an inaccessible
program. I'd concentrate on shareware and low-cost software that is sold by
small companies online. For example, I'd talk to Patrick about Spybot before
I'd talk to Symantech about Norton Anti-virus.

Your thoughts, please. Should we do a chat on this? Should I craft up a


* The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has

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