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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

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Please fill out our questionnaire on assistive technologies


I'm part of a team of three undergraduate students at the University of Toronto Department of Computer Science, working on a research project. Please help us by filling out this questionnaire. The purpose of this questionnaire and the overall research project is to look for areas of accessibility technology that can be improved with further research. There are 17 questions, and most of them are multiple choice.

Google says that Google Forms supports screen readers. Please let me know if there’s a better way to administer a questionnaire like this, or if you have any questions or comments about the content. Thanks!

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Re: Please fill out our questionnaire on assistive technologies

I'm a few months late, but I did attempt to fill out the survey, and here is some feedback on the survey itself:

I'm using:
OS: Customize Adriane Knoppix 7.6.0
Web browser: Iceweasel(rebranded Firefox) 43 running in a stripped down Xsessiong with Compiz.
Screen Reader: Orca.

1. The back and next buttons use JavaScript. In my experience, screen readers work best with things that approximate plain text, and the more rich-web elements a page has, the harder it is for a screen reader to make sense of the page. I have NoScript installed, not for security, but simply because most pages that use JavaScript work better with it disabled, and I only make permanent exceptions for sites I visit frequently and which have required functionality that requires JavaScript. I had to add a temporary exception just to take the survey because the form abuses JavaScript to make buttons when HTML buttons would have accomplished the same thing in a more compatible fashion.

2. The survey was multiple pages, which really isn't necessary for such a short survey, and would have been annoying back before my vision failed me and is moreso now.

3. The radio buttons don't tab properly, even before selecting one from a group. Might be JavaScript Abuse again, but tabbing forward, the first radio button from a group gets focus and then jumps to the form element after the radio button group. Tabbing backwards, the last button gets focus and the rest of the group is skipped. Also, for the numbered scale questions, instead of unfocusable labels indicating extreme options and the individual radio buttons having just a number attached, you should attach the actual meaning to each button.
i.e. instead of:
very easy o 1 o 2 o 3 o 4 o5 very hard
it should be:
o very easy
o easy
o neither easy or hard
o hard
o very hard

This also makes the form easier to read for sighted persons and for longer surveys can avoid confusion if the scale changes from one group of questions to another. Besides, this isn't a print form where minimizing paper usage or producing a machine readable scantron are important.

4. Since you are CSC students, here's my suggestion for publishing future surveys: code the form by hand in pure html and stick to standard form elements. This should ensure that the form stays simple enough to not trip up any screen readers. And if you feel like you have to stick with one of the web services that let people who know nothing about how computers work, my suggestion for testing a form for accessibility is to complete it yourself under the following conditions:
-Disable JavaScript, Images, and other rich-web elements.
-Complete the form using the keyboard and no other input device.
-You're only allowed to use alphanumeric, shift, tab, space, enter, and arrow keys, and alphanumeric keys only for text entry.

If you have any trouble completing the form under those rules, a Blind person will likely have more trouble.

And for the record, I speak as a fellow CSC Major and someone who had the make the transition from using a computer without any assistive technology to being dependent on a screen reader, so I know first hand that every little annoyance of bad web design one encounters as a sighted user is magnified a thousand fold for a blind user, to the point that little things a sighted person would never notice can render a website utterly unusable to a blind person.

Google Forms and Screen Readers

I am having trouble getting the Next Button to activate, using the Enter key. When I have the time, I will try your survey again in another browser and give you more specific feedback. You can always use Survey Monkey. Lots of people ask us questions using it. It works well with screen readers when responding to questions. I have never created a survey with Survey Monkey using a screen reader and so cannot comment on how it would work for me as a blind survey designer.

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