Re: NVDA in Employment

erik burggraaf <erik@...>


On August 25, 2019 6:11:06 PM "Andy B." <sonfire11@...> wrote:

1. NVDA has been the most standards compliant for years, at least that you
know of... Do you have documentation that NVDA is the most standards
compliant Windows-based screen reader?

This is rich. Quentin sent a pretty good overview of information employers might need to put NVDA in their workplaces. Now the way I read that document, the NVDA software interface complies with WCAG 2.0A, and is equiped to provide access to any software complying to WCAG 2.0AA. Quentin can correct me if I'm wrong. There is also further information about compliance with standards that don't apply to me such as rehabilitation 508 refresh.

This morning I did a quick google search and couldn't find a compliance statement for jaws. So I called freedom scientific and asked what edition of WCAG Jaws complies with. The tech support person had never heard of WCAG even after I spelled it out in terms of web content accessibility guidelines. He then told me that the latest jaws version was 2019 and for the best compatibility, use that. I asked twice more and he checked twice more, but he ended up telling me that no one in his department knew anything about wcag.

I wouldn't call NVDA standards
compliant when the only effective email client NVDA works with is the
web-based version of Gmail. When TB sometimes lags for hours, Windows 10
Mail doesn't read well and you have to make use of notepad to type email,
and NVDA+Outlook results in the error bell going off like the closing bell
on Wallstreet, it doesn't sound very compliant.

I think you're missing the point of standards. I use windows 10 mail just fine, and I've also run outlook with no problems. I'm sorry it isn't working out for you, but the point of standards is that everyone has to comply in order for the system to work. If NVDA and windows 10 mail are both compliant to WCAG 2.0AA, they work together at least in as much as the items covered by the standard. If one of them fails to comply, the system falls over.

Now there are qwerks in windows 10 mail. Editing a message is really unreasonably clunky, but the one time I tried it with jaws it was frightening. In stead of reading from and subject in the message list, it was reading the body of the message without the headers. On top of that, this particular system you could use for a few hours at a time, but at some random point, jaws would fail to load web content properly across all applications. Emails... webpages... blooie! The content would load and jaws would just say blank blank blank. Nothing's perfect, but a high end screen reader really shouldn't do things like that.
2. Software developers are increasingly required to create standards
compliant software. Do you have evidence from the U.S. Supreme court or
other international governing body that standards compliant software is an
absolute must? If so, what are those standards and penalties for violating
the standards?

I don't know the ins and outs of the American system, though I have heard of settlements and penalties ranging from $100000 to $2.5 millian for people barred from work or education due to inaccessible software. Of course, in all these cases as with the ones I've worked on, the penalties are as much for unwillingness to comply as for the noncompliance itself. I do not remember, exactly, but either the section 508 refresh or the latest ADA refresh officially adopted WCAG 2.0.

Here in ontario, the legally adopted standard is WCAG 2.0AA with 2.0AAA to be implemented fully by year 2021. I believe the penalties for noncompliance are not less than $10,000 and not more than $50,000. I think the new national legislation has stiffer penalties, but the adoption process just started. I would think they will go with WCAG 2.1 just to stay current, but this remains to be seen. I'm sorry I don't have all the numbers difinitively, but all this is public record. You can look up the definitions and requirements for your region.
3. It is foolish to claim open source is not safe in the workplace. You seem
to be taking this point from an NVDA users perspective. Well I just happen to be an nvda user with substantial IT experience. Besides, none of your comments on this point in any way address the issue of open source and security and others have addressed it better than I could.
Besides, most AT
software and hardware gains popularity through a good marketing plan. NVDA
doesn't seem to have a good marketing plan, else they would have become
direct competitor's with JAWS.

Gafaws and harty chuckles all around. How many screen reader products have competed directly with freedom scientific. Let's see, in the early days there were ASAW, window-bridge and winvision. Then came window-eyes, Hal and supernova. Then free screen readers emerged such as nvda and thunder. Explain if you will... Where are all of the screen readers and magnifiers who competed directly with jaws? Except for supernova which still has a limitted following and NVDA which doesn't compete directly, every single last one of those products and more that I haven't mentioned are G O N E... Gone. I forgot about system access actually. That might still be around. I don't remember. In any event, the legal fees alone that would be required to defend against frivolous freedom scientific lawsuits would enflate the cost beyond common sense. Then there are the multitudinous exclusivity agreements held by FS, which NVDA conveniently circumvents with it's current charity free access model.

There is this thing called market disruption. To find out how positive disruption works, study uber, airbnb, and netflix who revolutionized their industries and the way we think about products and services. Did NVDA set out to disrupt a market? We can only speculate; however, it certainly had timing on it's side coming up as it did alongside the emergence of apple voiceover products and google talkback.

Does NVAccess have a bad marketing plan? You tell me. Grants from microsoft, adobe, and mozilla, prestigious technology awards, Academic recognission and use in research, recognized leader in software testing,, used in derivitive commercial access technologies such as ABISee Eyepal... Goodness gracious me! I see it all so clearly now. What a terrible marketing plan! How could we all have been so blind! :-D

In any case, most IT managers have no clue
about AT and how it works. Thus, they will go with the product most
advertised and sought after in the accessibility space.

Oh boy... No no no... If they don't know anything about accessibility, they will transfer the issue in whole or in part to either a legal department, or an accessibility department, which companies in Ontario are now and soon will be, required to have. The accessibility and/or legal department may seek out an official recommendation from an agency such as the CNIB here. An agency probably but not necessarily will recommend jaws for many of the shortsighted reasons sited in this thread. Whatever comes of it, the law here and in the US requires that a person with a disability be allowed input into their own accommodations. That doesn't mean they get whatever they ask for, but they do get an opportunity to state and justify their preferences. IT departments often have little or no say in what is procured,. They are only consulted on implementation. If there are problems with an implementation such as jaws simply failing to run or concerns about NVDA security, they get to provide that feedback, but if the concerns can be addressed, they have to implement whatever the accessibility department procures.

5. The point of AT software and hardware is to gain access to, and use the
accessibility framework implemented in the operating system. Its other job
is to compensate for a lack in such accessibility framework. Hence, why JAWS
works better in VS code and Visual Studio better than NVDA, especially with

We disagree here. Screen readers in my view should not be required to compensate for deficiencies in software development. This I believe, is also the working development philosophy at NVAccess. It is personally excruciating to me that microsoft makes a public show of spending 10's of millians of dollars on AI research to help people with disabilities, while workers today are still waiting for full access to sharepoint, visual studio, and other corporate software to do their job. That to me is trucking ridiculous!

-----Original Message-----
From: <> On Behalf Of erik burggraaf
Sent: Sunday, August 25, 2019 2:27 PM
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA in Emploandenp

Hi Kelby
On August 25, 2019 7:39:31 AM "kelby carlson" <kelbycarlson@...>

I hope this isn't too off-topic. I recently heard an argument that NVDA is
bad for blind prospect's in employment because it is the "dumbed down"

That sounds like the blather of some one who recommended commercial screen
readers for 20 years and is now having their apple cart upset. I've seen
this time and time again and will keep seeing it as long as accessibility is
a thing. When some one has to use dirision rather than fact to steer you
away from one product and ttowards another, an alarm bell should shreek in
your head.

The person arguing this elaborated, saying that NVDA is not
customizable/flexible enough (too chatty"),

This is a matter of personal preference, but I can make NVDA do the common
things such as punctuation level that I sometimes need to configure.

that it was not able to be scripted as easily,

Now, I have heard argued the other point that NVDA is easier to scrypt than
jaws and I subscribe to this view. Consider, there are many more python
programmers in the world than jaws scripters. A company can script NVDA in
house using their own IT department. Otherwise, the company needs to
outsource jaws scripting to an access technology professional. The prices I
have seen quoted range from $500 per hour to $150 per line.
it didn't work well with as much proprietary software,

An argument that shows no understanding of access technology trends. It is
no longer the purview of a screen reader to work with particular software.
In the current and emerging model, an operating system creates accessibility
API's that comply with recognized standards. Screen readers provide access
using the API's and standards. Software manufacturers are increasingly
legally and socially obligated to comply with accessibility standards and
implement API's and ffeatures for accessibility provided by the system.
Employers are increasingly legally and socially obligated to procure
technology hardware and software that complies with accessibility standards
so that it can work with access technologies. NVDA has been considered the
most standards compliant screen rreader for several years as far as I know,.

and that it wouldn't be allowed on secure environments due to being open

Extrordinarily foolish. If open source software is insecure, why is it
powering the commercial internet? If commercial software is inherantly
secure, why do we need to spend billians of dollars protecting windows
against viruses? NVD'S licencing makes it time and cost efficient to
install across large networks such as call centre floors holding thousands
of computer workstations. If your corporate network is secure, than running
NVDA can't possibly be less secure than running say adobe reader, which is
a known constantly volnerable commercial product.

So my question is this: how many people here use NVDA for work,

I do. I'm a compuuter programming student working as a web application
developer for wholenote media in Toronto. I've experienced some of the
things members are saying about programming tools such as long delays using
intelisense. Not 30 seconds but finger-chompingly long lag. This is the
fault of software developers such as Microsoft for not complying with
standards or even properly implementing their own API's. At least, if you
want me to consider that there might be something in NVDA causing severe lag
in microsoft intelisense, how about giving us full access to xaml designer,
rad tools, and unit testing among other things. If ms could say their
product was up to snuff, then I'd consider that there's an ineficiency in
NVDA. Otherwise, autocomplete works well for me in browsers and in VSCode
though I haven't tried in notepadplusplus with the add on.
We can talk about it when visual studio becomes truly viable for

and is there a notable dilerence in level of usability with JAWS?

I couldn't speak to this. I haven't used jaws since the days of 4.5. I
have provided some computer training on jaws systems though and have
experienced significant frustration using google chrome, excel 2016, windows
10 mail, and other things. In helping jaws users the last year or so, I've
seen an issue where displaying web content poops out. Jaws scripts still
have a bent for corrupting themselves and needing to be re-installed. And
they still haven't figured out how to deal with issues such as laptops
switching video cards for various power profiles and ditching the

I was at the college last week getting set up for my fall semester classes.
When I sat down with my access technologist, a nondisabled college
employee, he imediately expressed frustration to me over use of jaws in the
college. He told me that in general nvda was working much better on college
systems than jaws, nvda is superior at the maths I have to do this semester
compared to jaws, and he thought for it's effectiveness, jaws was way over
priced. This is a complete turnaround from 2.5 years ago when I was
registering for courses. At that time, jaws was everything according to
this guy. He was extremely skeptical of NVDA and only implemented it for me
because I insisted. He was also dead set against mac and has had to rethink
that position too. :-)

I've told the story many times about going into the interview at the call
centre back in 16. It looked like they were gung hoe to hire me. Their IT
guy that I was working with said, "thank god you really wanted NVDA. Jaws
won't even load up on our systems for testing." He also told me they would
script NVDA in house using their python programmers. I didn't get hired,
but I don't think it had anything to do with equipment and resources.

Hope this helps,

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