accessible conferencing applications?

Colin Clark colinbdclark at gmail.com
Fri Dec 13 10:46:09 EST 2013


Hi Dana,

There are a lot of layers to your question.

The first pragmatic question is whether Connect will work with JAWS. it’s been a while since we’ve done tests with it, but I’d encourage you to sit down at one of our test machines with JAWS installed on it and try it yourself. That should give you an impression of what the experience might be like for our our users.

Back in 2011, Adobe released a somewhat self-congratulatory “More Accessible” blog post that outlines their compatibility with JAWS 11 on Windows:

http://blogs.adobe.com/adobeconnect/2011/01/moreaccessibleadobeconnect8.html

I think it’s quite likely that it will provide a workable, if not optimal, experience with JAWS on Internet Explorer. But of course supporting JAWS and Windows doesn’t make something “accessible.” That’s the more interesting question. Connect is Flash-based, and there are numerous limitations related to keyboard navigation, screen reader API support, and more with Flash on non-IE and non-Windows platforms. User who are on other browsers, such as Firefox and Chrome, likely will be unable to use Connect if they need alternatives to mouse-based control of the UI. Same for people on Mac or Linux platforms.

Screenreader There are also lots of interesting accessibility consideration for conferencing beyond just support for an assistive technology like a screenreader. I’m sure Jess can fill you in on some of the accessibility criteria we’ve tried to structure for our own upcoming RFP about video conferencing solutions. 

Getting back to the question of what works today, I’m assuming this is all in context of the monthly open design meetings. We’ve had reasonably good experience using Skype in the past with users who have screen readers. Go To Meeting, also, has been relatively successful though I believe there may be some issues with the chat window.

Skype provides quite a bit of out-of-the-box support for access features across platforms:

https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA12371/what-accessibility-features-are-available-for-skype

Have you asked your friend what conferencing solutions they’ve successfully used in the past? We can always try to meet them wherever they’re comfortable.

I hope this helps,

Colin

On Dec 12, 2013, at 5:05 PM, Dana Ayotte <dana.ayotte at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi All,
> Someone has asked me whether Adobe Connect is accessible with JAWS and I wonder if anyone could tell me the answer to this question and/or share their experience.  I would also love to hear any recommendations for other accessible conferencing applications (both with and without the ability to share a screen with multiple users).
> Thanks,
> Dana  



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