[Accessibleweb] Is Mac OSX More Accessible Than Windows XP/Vista?

Rick Ells rells at u.washington.edu
Tue Nov 13 10:54:28 PST 2007

For years, the general view was that Windows was the OS preferred by the
handicapped, partly because a lot of assistive software, including JAWs,
ran on Windows and Microsoft offered the MS Active Accessibility library
to support creating accessible applications.

Is Mac OSX leaving Windows behind?

At our last meeting, Dan Comden reported on seeing a demonstration of
accessibility features on Mac OSX that he thought were quite impressive.
Besides providing the VoiceOver voice browser with the operating system,
OSX is very standards oriented, making it easier for apps to interact with
it. For applications, OSX includes a suite of technologies, including an
Accessibility API for creating assistive technology solutions.

The question of accessibility of Apple products came up in September when
we discussed accessibility problems with iTunes.

I raised this question at a conference I attended in mid-October and then
again at the iPhone Tech Talk a couple weeks ago. What I heard has
convinced me that Apple is quite serious about accessibility and has been
doing some good work in making OSX an assistive technology friendly

I had a long conversation with Mary Beth Janes, an Apple Accessibility
engineer. She suggested we explore the following links:

Apple Developer articles relating to accessibility

Accessibility sample code

Mailing List Site:

Macvisionaries site:

Other sites:

Blogs about Mac accessibility


Screenless Switchers

The question is, do these efforts sum up to enough to effectively support
the disabled in the work they want to do and the goals they want to

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