Re: Keeping Up With Technology

Brad Martin

I can't really fault Freedom Scientific for this. Designers do crazier and crazier things with software and websites every day, and the people at FS aren't psychic. It's been this way since before I got into computers I'm sure, and that was 1992. You can't redesign software to fix a problem until the problem exists. So what happens. A new version of Windows comes out, and then JAWS has to be rewritten to handle the new stuff. A new version of Office comes out replacing menus with ribbons, and again, the software has to be rewritten to deal with the new layout. Netflix changes their website, and again something has to be tweaked to handle the new wrinkle. If the site designer would use Alt tags on their graphics, graphical links wouldn't be an issue.

The other side of that coin is that you have to do your part, and that means updating to the latest version of JAWS if you want the latest fixes to the latest problems. I don't generally update to every new release, because for what I do, I can usually skip five or so versions. It's cheaper that way, and I don't feel like I'm missing out. If you're more on the cutting edge of technology, you may have to update more frequently.

Which brings me to my final point of the night. People gripe about the cost of assistive technology, but as rapidly as things change, programmers are always having to work writing code to accommodate those new features and problems. And unlike, say, Microsoft Office, which people use by the millions and millions of copies, assistive technology has an extremely small market share. People want the very latest and greatest, and they want the software authors to work for free.

Is what we have perfect? No. But if you were using JAWS back in the days of Internet Explorer 3.0, you remember when the only way to read a news article was with the JAWS cursor (there was no virtual cursor), and you had to read three or four columns of articles at one time with all the stories mixed together. We've come soooooo far since 1997 when I started teaching people how to use the Internet. When you step back eighteen years, it's really quite amazing how rapidly our technology catches up with the rest of the world compared to how long it used to take.


On 6/22/2015 6:25 PM, Kevin Wollenweber via Jfw wrote:
You know, with all the hardships that I read within this EList, especially
regarding Netflix and other such sites-I know I'm having my share of woes
regarding these-I think the fault lay not only with sites like Netflix that
change configurations as often as they change their underwear, but also with
Freedom Scientific for not keeping the programs compatible and current with
a lot of new programs and changing graphics. If screenreaders were able to
recognize changing graphics, I think things would be a lot more accessible.
No one saw this Netflix change coming; I mean, the site is definitely
changed completely to the point where I cannot find my DVD queue; if they
were phasing out the DVD queue, news of this should have been announced to
subscribers long ago, but if this is merely a configuration issue where more
is made of graphics, well, then I guess that, right now, they'll lose a lot
of subscribers who can't figure out the situation, but my hope is that
screenreading software is keeping up with the times, because they're
certainly *NOT* slowing down for us.


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