Screen reader testing

Though as a sighted user I find it very difficult to fully grasp what it’s like for a blind or severly vision impaired person to browse the Web with a screen reader, I still think it’s quite useful to spend some time with a few screen readers.

If nothing else it gives you some kind of idea of the kinds of problems you run into when you can’t see the website you’re visiting. Having access to screen readers is also important for testing that the sites you build don’t create unnecessary obstacles.

Installing and setting up screen readers can be a bit tricky though, so the instructions Todd Kloots provides in Configuring Your Machine For Testing With A Screen Reader will come in handy for many.

As long as you have access to some kind of virtual machine software (Virtual PC, VMWare Fusion, Parallels Desktop and Virtual Box are a few options) and Windows, following the steps in the article will help you get the JAWS, Window-Eyes, and NVDA screen readers set up and ready for testing.

An article with similar tips is Henny Swan’s Setting up a screen reader test enviroment.

Posted on March 10, 2009 in Accessibility