|Access Module Section 508 Evaluation|
|Written by Scott Malyon|
|Tuesday, 01 December 2009 16:40|
As part of the last submission of the m3i Platform, Ricoh US also gave the Access Module to the Human Systems Engineering Branch (HSEB) of Georgia Tech to see how it would fare against their Section 508 tests.
The Access Module fared well and achieved a Fully Supports compliant status itself while achieving Supports with Exceptions for the total solution including the MFD. However, HSEB did suggest some areas where it could be made more compatible with certain of the assistive technologies they were using in their testing.
Jaws Screen Reader
HSEB reported that the label for a selected setting was not being spoken by Jaws when it spoke the setting. Also, that the new values were not spoken when a value was changed.
We have made some changes which, hopefully, will have improved our compatibility with all text-to-speech applications such as Jaws by implementing ARIA mark-up (http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/aria) in the following ways:
Magic Screen Magnifier
HSEB reported that the focus rectangle placed around the element with focus by the Magic Screen Magnifier did not work when used with the Access Module. After some testing we found that this focus rectangle worked poorly in all webpages not just the Access Module and was more suited to standard (non web) applications.
Given that we already provide our own focus highlighting by placing a contrasting coloured rectangle around the focused element, we felt that modifying the Access Module to work with the Magic Screen Magnifier could not be justified.
HSEB reported that the only way to use NaturallySpeaking was to issue spoken keystroke commands to navigate through the Access Module such as Tab and Enter.
We have found that NaturallySpeaking appears not to properly parse web pages that have not finished loading (which is the normal state for the Access Module) and therefore cannot find any links on the page.
During testing we manually stopped the page from loading and found that NaturallySpeaking worked well and could highlight all the links on the page, but obviously it cannot be worked when stopped.
We have also found that NaturallySpeaking interfaces differently with Firefox (FF) and Internet Explorer (IE). We could not get IE to function at all, other than through the keystroke method. Whereas with FF we could operate the Access Module in two ways:
Windows High Contrast Mode
HSEB reported that the Access Module’s focus highlight did not work in High Contrast Mode. The High Contrast Mode maps any foreground colours such as text and borders to one colour and any background colours to another. This meant that changing the colours of borders to indicate a highlight was ineffective as the colour change would not show up in High Contrast Mode (the border would show as a single colour regardless of what it was set to).
We have made changes to the Access Module to make less use of borders and to turn borders on and off to indicate focus. We have also added a focus highlight to the tabs.
We have found it very useful working with the HSEB to further improve our product and make it more accessible for our users.