Future Media Standards & Guidelines

Screen-Reader Testing Guidelines vs1.0.1

1. Document purpose and background

1.1. Screen readers are used in the production of BBC online (*.bbc.co.uk) content:

  • by developers, during development, to evaluate their ongoing work; and
  • by experts and users, for more formal testing.

1.2. This document describes which screen readers SHOULD be used in each of these cases if screen-reader testing is being carried out.

1.2.1. Screen-reader testing on BBC sites is currently optional; however, it may become mandatory in the future.

1.3. The document is part of a wider move to clarify how screen-reader testing should be carried out on online projects. This will include: a refinement of the screen readers on which to test, based on better research on the screen readers actually used by BBC online audiences; and more detailed guidelines for how best to perform development and more formal screen-reader testing.

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2. Screen-reader use by developers

2.1. Based of the availability of screen readers which are approved for use on the BBC desktop, you SHOULD use the following screen readers for development testing of BBC sites:

  • Jaws 8.0 (with JavaScript enabled) in IE6 (or IE7 where available) and FireFox
  • HAL 7.0.1

2.2. The following tools MAY also provide useful insights into how screen readers will read a page; they may be easier to use and more easily available than those in section 2.1.:

  • IBM Home Page Reader
  • VoiceOver (Apple) in Safari 2 or 3
  • FireVox in FireFox

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3. Screen-reader use in formal testing

3.1. To test the results of development, you SHOULD conduct expert testing.

3.1.1. You MUST use a supplier approved by the Future Media & Technology UXD Accessibility Team to perform expert testing.

3.1.2. In expert testing, the following screen readers MUST be tested against on Windows XP:

  • HAL 7.0.1 with JavaScript enabled in IE 6 (or IE7 where available)
  • JAWS 7.1, JAWS 8 and JAWS 9 with JavaScript enabled in IE6 (and IE7 where available)

3.2. To further test the results of development, to ensure they provide a usable experience for typical blind users, you MAY conduct usability testing.

3.2.1. You MUST also use a supplier approved by the Accessibility Team to perform usability testing.

3.2.2. In usability testing, you MUST ensure you include at least one user using each of the following screen readers on Windows XP:

  • HAL 7.0.1 with JavaScript enabled in IE7
  • Windows Eyes 5.5 with JavaScript enabled in IE7 and FireFox
  • JAWS 7.1, JAWS 8 and JAWS 9 with JavaScript enabled in IE7

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