Joint meeting of Boston-IA and the Boston Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) on April 27, 2005 (Part 4 of 4).
Judy Kessler discussed how she managed a successful accessibility project for the Sybase documentation group and shared her experiences testing with the screen reader JAWS.
This article is divided into the following sections:
Judy Kessler of Sybase emphasized several times during her talk that without the sponsorship of management, making Sybase's documentation align with Section 508 standards would not have happened. She named her talk "Six Steps ― Six Challenges".
"Learning" for Judy and the Sybase team consisted of performing the same steps that Barbara Casaly recommended: dig in, search, gather, understand. Judy noted that when the folks at Sybase started the project, they knew no more than we know as an audience.
"Planning" for the Section 508 project involved four planning tasks:
"Choosing" involved four elements:
"Creating" was the major task, which involved creating:
After executing that list, performing one final task, creating the source files, which included a long to-do list as well:
"Testing" for Judy involved listening to a lot of documents with JAWS 5. She admitted that the listening was tedious and often required staying late so as not to disturb coworkers. Test the documentation when you can't see it, hear it, use a mouse, fit it on your screen, see colors, or see contrast, Judy recommends. She notes that JAWS is not an easy program to learn and use, but P.J. emphasized that JAWS is a full-featured program, and once over the learning curve, JAWS offers a lot.
Note: If you need a Java access bridge, you can download one from Sun Microsystems.
"Maintaining" is a task for the future since the Sybase group is just developing at this point, but Judy projects that maintenance will be a factor. How much will be involved, she doesn't know.
End of Article
© 2005 Bill Gruener. All rights reserved.