Re: ADA Section 508 Compliance on StudentLoans.gov?

    Hi Don: I just went to the site and filled out a few fields. The SSN is 
just a 9 digit number with no spaces or hyphens, it entered both the first time 
and the second, verification editbox, time. I entered the name and the 
birthdate - the birthdate is just a number 03051944 for example with no spaces 
or slashes according to the instructions I found with the mouse keys. I used 
Windoweyes 7.2 and focus and everything seemed to work well. I also read 
through the source code a little and the edit box does not seem to verify 
dynamically as far as I can tell but there is a bind command on the field which 
I am not sure might not be doing something dynamically. I have never used it in 
html before. In any case, the Social Security number was not read as all "*" or 
whatever, it was just read as numbers. Other than that, it all seemed to work 
pretty well with WindowEyes so my guess is it is a JAWS problem unless I am 
looking at a diferent webpage. I did not create a PIN, just started filling it 
out to see how it might work.
My guess is it is a JAWS Problem since the html tags don't look overly complex 
or dynamic. It seems to be just a standard input text box unless the bind 
function is doing something with it.
Rick USA
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: RicksPlace 
  To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Saturday, July 17, 2010 9:34 AM
  Subject: Re: ADA Section 508 Compliance on StudentLoans.gov?


  It is not only possible but common. There can be problems with nested 
controls depending on how focus is handled. It can also be a problem with the 
type of Accessibility hooks, CSS or dynamic content on the page. For example, 
if they do validation on the server side a postback can cause focus to be reset 
and, if the web manager does not scroll focus ito the proper position, focus 
will be lost. On the other hand, the Web Master may be doing everything 
correctly according to Web Standards but the screen reader might not be using 
the newer Accessibility tags correctly. This is getting to be  a bigger and 
bigger problem as more sites move to the new html and css accessibility tags. 
If the validation is done Client Side the focus can also get messed up on the 
site itself if the Web Master does not ReSet focus after performing some 
JavaScript validation of a field. The fact that you heard some of the numbers 
that were suppose to be protected indicates a Client Side approach to filling 
out that field. If the process of validation is slow and you type quickly you 
can mess that process up. If they don't validate correctly for the hyphens that 
can mess up the validation as well. That said, I don't think a screen reader 
should read the numbers if they are protected and the fault here would reside 
with the screen reader if the actual numbers were not being displayed and with 
the Webpage if the numbers were not visually displayed but being picked up by 
the Screen Reader. It is just impossible to tell whta is going on without 
viewing the source code for the page itself. Try this: Go back into the Webpage 
and start doing something like entering a dummy value for something. Then under 
your browser's view menu, hit enter on the View Source object. It might take  a 
couple of minutes and some scrolling up and down the text editor to get it all 
loaded - if it can be loaded. Then copy and paste the entire source code into a 
text document and you can look at the actual html, javascript and other things 
related to the fields you are having trouble with. This might give you some 
idea of why things are not working as indicated. You might even get an idea of 
how better to get around the problems but my guess is that the site is using 
Accessibility hooks for javascript, CSS and dynamic html that your screen 
reader is having trouble with. At least you will know what technologies are 
related to the problematic fields like the Social Security Number.
  Rick USA
    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: Donald Marang 
    To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
    Sent: Saturday, July 17, 2010 9:14 AM
    Subject: Re: ADA Section 508 Compliance on StudentLoans.gov?


    Thanks, I will try those leads.  Those pages do not seem that fancy or high 
tech.  There is a lot of verification going on for each field.  For instance, 
to log in a Social Security number is required.  It is a semi-protected field 
in that when you type you just hear * for each character.  I am told that the 
field automatically adds the dashes as you type.  Unfortunately, the user has 
no idea whether to type the dashes or not.  They can not hear that dashes are 
being inserted or not.  Strangely, if you type in dashes, it does not ignore 
these characters.  It just will fail to log you in!  I used the term 
semi-private for these protected fields because sometimes as I was attempting 
to get back to the next field the actual numbers in the field would be spoken 
instead of the * characters.  I have written sinmple JavaScript for webpage 
field verification.  Is it possible to write bad JavaScript that would vastly 
screw up the focus?  The limited JavaScript I wrote never changed the focus 
unless I set it to another field on purpose.  

     Don Marang


    From: RicksPlace 
    Sent: Saturday, July 17, 2010 5:49 AM
    To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
    Subject: Re: ADA Section 508 Compliance on StudentLoans.gov?


    Hi Don: Congratulations on having a Daughter and again for her getting into 
University!
    I have seen The problems you describe on other sites. It could be a Website 
Problem or a Screen Reader Problem. When you try and type into one of those 
boxes like for Social Security Number, see if there are seperat boxes you can 
tab to to enter each number parings. Often you can just type the long number 
and let the Webpage format them but sometimes it works slow or not very well 
with a screen reader. The focus problem could be from dynamic content on the 
page or the Webpage not scrolling the cursor or something else. I am not sure  
who would be the appropriate Watchdog Group to report them too. I Sort of 
thought NFB and ACB were performing that function but I'm not sure about that. 
They have the lawyers to check it out and contact Vendors about such things if 
they brush you off. . You might also contact your Screen Reader group to see if 
anyone has any quick suggestions for using that site. 
    That form is nasty, I could not do it a few years ago so my Daughter did 
it, every year  if I remember, when she attended the University Of Michigan.  I 
think the President has said it is bloated and 
    overly complex and has instructed some commission or other to look into it. 
The problem there is that will likely take years to implement where you want a 
solution sooner rather than later - at least before your Daughter is of 
retirement age, grin! 
    Well, try contacting someone at NFB about this to see if they are aware of 
the problem and have any suggestions. Again, it might be a Screen Reader 
problem so don't take anyone's head off until you are sure who is responsible.
    There have been allot of accessibility changes over the past couple years 
and the Screen Reader companies are behind in getting all of them implemented.
    Rick USA
    ----- Original Message ----- 
      From: Donald Marang 
      To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
      Sent: Saturday, July 17, 2010 2:52 AM
      Subject: ADA Section 508 Compliance on StudentLoans.gov?


      Today I attempted to sign a Master Promissory Note on StudentsLoans.gov 
for my daughter.  It was one of the most important on-line transactions and 
worst experience I ever had!  This is a US Government site and as of July 1st, 
became a monopoly because all of these loans are now directly serviced by the 
government, not a variety of commercial banks.  The entire site is what I would 
call unusable for screen readers!  The site and its sister site for filling out 
the student's financial aid needs (FAFSA)require you to fill out forms.  The 
forms are nearly impossible to fill out!  The biggest problem is a focus issue. 
 After filling out a field and pressing Tab, the focus moves randomly around 
the page!  Even signing in requires you to enter Social Security number, first 
two letters of last name date of birth, and PIN.  Both SSN and DOB require you 
not to enter dashes or slashes and fill them in for you in a semi-secure 
password field.  The example says to enter in mm/dd/yyyy format, but if you do 
the log in fails!  Again, it is impossible to fill out more than two of these 
fields without losing focus and returning to the top of the page or elsewhere.  
I had someone from the hotline on the phone for two hours to simply 
electronically sign a document!  

      I has similar and worse experiences on the site to create the PIN and to 
fill out the long FAFSA application.  For instance, there were at least three 
definitions for how to calculate the number in your household.  I needed to go 
back into the FAFSA after completing and submitting the application.  The page 
to correct the form is very bizarre  and has the information as previously 
entered in a column and then a field in a second column to make the correction 
appears if you click to change that piece of data.  Again, the focus is a major 
issue on this page.  I was very careful about just changing the number in 
household number.  I found out later that night when calling their hotline a 
completely different question, that the agent told me that there was no longer 
a last name on the application!  Since the last name and Social Security number 
are part of the sign in process, it was impossible to correct on-line and had 
to be handled by snail mail!  

      I thought all government sites had to be accessible by ADA law.  These 
sites are particularly Important to the blind!  Is there a department of the 
government to report such sites?  What are the relevant regulations / laws in 
this circumstance?  What are the possible actions / reparations that can be 
taken?  I thought it was impossible to sue the federal government.  However, 
Social Security was recently required to send blind people letters on CD or 
large print if requested.  That was the result of some type of legal action.  

      Don Marang

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