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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

determining accessibility of a workplace computer program

I am looking for a way to learn a computer program for my work that has heretofore been deemed completely inaccessible. The program is a database called Advantage, into which you enter various pieces of information after speaking with a customer that is then communicated to other areas of the workplace. Training on this program is very complicated and usually takes a trainee a month or so to complete. Obviously, the individual responsible for the training is not familiar with JAWS, but our I.T. department doesn't think there is any way, based on strategies they have tried, to make Advantage even remotely accessible. Here is my question: Without complete training on the program, I am not familiar enough with it to truly assess the program's accessibility. And if the program is not going to be accessible, it doesn't make much sense for my company to spend valuable time training me on it. What have all of you found to be the best way to determine an unfamiliar program's accessibility? Are there resources out there that can assist in this endeavor?

Thanks so much,

Kimberly Morrow

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Re: determining accessibility of a workplace computer program

Hi Kim,
I just accessed the message boards and apologize for this very late reply. I had a similar problem at work on electronic medical records. The company I worked for had 2 different computer programs that did not work well with JAWS. The state agency I was working with had a computer specialist that was familiar with JAWS come to my workplace and try to get JAWS to work with the new programs. He said it would take a lot of scripting, be very expensive and not guaranteed to work long as the program had regular updates every few months. It was deemed not cost effective and I had to do my documentation in an alternative way. If you are working with a blindness rehab counselor, maybe they could recommend a computer specialist that is familiar with your program to perform an assessment. It is worth asking. If you are not working with anyone, even a call to get names of the computer experts may be worth a try.
Hope this helps a little.

Re: determining accessibility of a workplace computer program

Consult your screen reader help desk for starts. Your IT department is not familiar with screen reader technology and so may not know how the screen reader will work with the program. It might be possible to make the screen reader work by using scripts or other strategies. The people who make the screen reader will know what can be done. At least it will give you a start.

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