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CISW 370 - Designing Accessible Sites
Jeannie M.

Assistive Technology

International Symbol of Access placed within HTML brackets

Assistive technology tools, such as JAWS or ZoomText, can be very useful for people who are blind or have vision impairments. I have evaluated different websites with both of these programs to experience how it can be useful. Based on my findings, I will provide my analysis for each site.

Society for the Blind

This website was very accessible using JAWS. It contained Skip Navigation links, and summarized a list of how many links, headings, and other elements that were contained on the page. JAWS started speaking without me having to interact with the page. This made it helpful, so that I knew the page was loaded. ZoomText, on the other hand, was not as valuable in this area. I had to tab through the features to get a reading. As I tabbed through, I could not tell if the text was a link. JAWS provided the name and stated that it was a link. JAWS read the content on the page, as ZoomText did not. I believe this site did very well in making the website accessible. I have no recommendations for improvement.

Walmart

My experience using JAWS with the Walmart site was very interesting. As soon as it started reading, it started with the image carousel. It kept repeating the alt text of the images, and nothing else. Although it did start reading when I tabbed through the site, but I believe that was a feature or JAWS, not the website itself. The accessibility of the Walmart website was almost non-existent. I did tab through using the ZoomText, but again, was not sure if what was being read was a link. I would suggest proper headings, and a better structure.

CNN

CNN's site said there were no headings, but when I navigated to a heading, it read it. The alt text was read by JAWS, but not by ZoomText. This site was structured nicely for accessibility. My one note to improve upon is to have videos on the site set to not automatically start. While navigating, the videos started playing, which interfered with what I was trying to listen to. It was quite distracting.

Amazon

It was difficult navigating through this site with so many links, but it was navigable. ZoomText did not state the links, but JAWS did. There were no skip navigation links, as that may have made the site easier to read. I would suggest having a skip navigation link to by-pass the many links and get to the results.

Contrast-A

With both JAWS and ZoomText, there was not accessible information. The only thing read was the address bar. This is more of an app-like page, and I am not sure how accessibility is achieved with something like this. I would suggest at least some headers for tabbing through the page.

My conclusion is that JAWS is more advanced as far as screen readers, than ZoomText. ZoomText is not bad, but it's probably not something I would recommend for a blind person as I would assume that they would need something that reads faster. ZoomText did have a nice feature of actually magnifying the screen. As this is my first time using assistive technology, it was a little difficult for me to navigate.