Re: spss inaccessibility: absolutely inexcusable

erik burggraaf <erik@...>

Hi Brian, I think Freedom Scientific is probably putting the rights of their scriptures and the intellectual property they generate over to 7:18 information directly to users about what is available and what is not. In the context of SPS s, this is a highly corporate package and the work that's been done on it by people in corporate settings is going to have to stay in those companies because the company's themselves are not going to want to let go of it.

Forcing authors of scripts 2278 their information by a contract would be great for users, but it would definitely scare away corporations research institutions and other big money providers. Freedom Scientific is going to go where the money is.

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On November 16, 2016 11:12:51 AM "Brian Vogel" <britechguy@...> wrote:

SPSS (if it's the same SPSS I know of, and it probably is), was originally called the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, is ancient, and has long since come into common use for number crunching in many disciplines.  That being said, SPSS was developed long before accessibility was on virtually anyone's radar.

I was, for a very long time, under the grossly mistaken impression that screen readers had been developed such that they could make a decent attempt to read virtually anything that might pop up on a screen.  I was recently disabused of that notion when working with a client who was expected to be able to use Interaction Desktop by Interaction Intelligence and a number of custom screen-based, but not web-based, programs developed for the client company.  It became abundantly clear instantly that JAWS (in this case, but it could have been any screen reader, this isn't JAWS bashing) was utterly incapable of interpreting the first thing that was on the screen because the underlying scripting for these applications did not exist.  We take for granted the way screen readers do function with common office suites and web browsers because an untold number of hours have been dedicated to creating the scripting that ships with them to handle these programs.  There is no way that any company can develop scripts "for everything" so the focus will logically be on the things that can benefit the most people in the most settings.   SPSS is absolutely a niche market, writ large.  In the context of the population at large, blind or not, very, very few people will ever touch SPSS.  That would not be a logical place to dedicate a lot of resources to as a result.

The above being said, after my experience with the client I made reference to, I was able to determine that there are several sites that had blind individuals using the software in question and that a significant scripting base was in place already and I believe it was actually done by Freedom Scientific.  What I do not understand is why companies like Freedom Scientific, when they're doing this work, do not have some contractual language in place that allows them to add said scripts to a central repository that they would maintain.   It is insane to keep reinventing the wheel, and that's exactly what happens when it comes to relatively little used commercial software when scripts have to be created, again and again, for each blind user at each site.  I was shocked that Freedom Scientific could not tell me whether any scripts existed or whether JAWS was known to have been used over Interaction Desktop.  Screen readers themselves are niche markets in the grand scheme of things and they would be boosting their respective reputations and really serving an important function of increasing accessibility for niche products if they set themselves up as centralized script repositories, with the proviso that they are not actively maintaining said scripts, just so a baseline would exist to work with when needed.

You can't convince me that SPSS hasn't been scripted, probably hundreds of times now, but where, for what screen reader or screen readers, who knows?

Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete.  If you’re alive, it isn’t.

    ~ Lauren Bacall


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