Section 508 Compliance and Assistive Technology

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Doug

They used to ask this right from the beginning. If a product works with one piece of assistive technology, is it still compliant? Let's say it works with JAWS, but it doesn't work with Window Eyes, it doesn't work with anything else, but it works with JAWS. Maybe JAWS had to write some fancy scripts. Well, this happened to a website that was developed by IBM and Grumman. A major website and it was grants.gov. This is where you could learn about grants, fill out applications and so on. The form that you needed to actually request a grant could only be filled out by JAWS. They asked me, some of the people from education called and asked, Is this 508 compliant? I said the only way its 508 compliant is that if everytime someone wants to use the site, they're allowed to download a free copy of JAWS. Because, we say that if you require a plug-in or application to work with web content, you must provide a link to one that will make it accessible. This is how we would say that you have to provide a link to Adobe reader, to accessible flash and things like that. I realize that it doesn't make people happy. This is because right now, JAWS, well, for one thing in this area I know why JAWS is so big, you have probably one of the best, most aggressive consultants in the country that also does a very good job with scripting. Other parts of the country you find JAWS hardly being used and it's all Windows Eyes.

Penny

Like back east.

Doug

Well, but except in Boston, yes. In Washington, it's JAWS again because Freedom was smart enough to focus on government sales and GW Micro was not. GW Micros is too small. And, the answer comes back to again, is the product compliant if it works with one type of assistive technology. The absolute answer is no, it is not. It is only compliant if it actually meets the codes. If the code is written to the specs.

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