Donna Jodhan Wishes To Fix Some Federal Government Wagons

Last Updated on: 4th November 2013, 09:15 am

Well, it looks like Donna Jodhan won her lawsuit. That didn’t take long. I hate how vague this is being. It says the government has to make its sites accessible to the visually-impaired. But how? Are they going to make the fonts big and say they’ve succeeded? Nothing has been explained as far as what specifically they have to do.

Thank you Jennison for passing on this far more detailed account. It looks like the government did a fine job of losing before Donna Jodhan even opened her mouth. They couldn’t even adhere to their own standards, standards that only refer to WCAG 1.0, which is 11 years old! Fail!

Even in this much more detailed version, there are things that lack clarity. For example, it is stated that popup windows are not accessible. Well, that could be if they’re not done right. But a blanket statement like that is misrepresentative. It also said that PDF’s are not accessible to screenreaders. Again, depends on how they’re done. I have seen my fair share of PDF’s that sucked a big one in the accessibility department, and it’s very easy to make an inaccessible PDF. On the other hand, I have seen beautiful PDF’s, including that passport application that are completely accessible. In fact, I’ve pretty much filled the sucker out, and without one bit of help.

But the statement that rendered me completely unable to speak was that Jodhan is using a screenreading solution called “Home Page Reader”. As far as I know, that solution is old, old, old! Let’s do a little digging into when it was last developed. It looks like February of 2005. The internet has changed significantly since then, and the solutions that worked back then don’t work now.

I think around the same time as this thing was last developed, JAWS 5.0 was all the rage. If I tried to navigate the net with that thing now, I would spend more time waiting for it to stop choking. Things change, and you have to update with it.

I’m not saying JAWS is the way, the light and the truth. But there are other solutions, like Window Eyes, System Access, or even NVDA, which are being kept far more current than this.

But any way you look at it, I’m glad she won, because it appears the government needed to realize that they can’t even conform to their own standards.

Let’s see how things look 15 months from now.

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