Introduction and the first fundamental issue: Keyboard accessibility.

Okay, I shall get the ball rolling.

First of all, a little background so that you can understand where I am coming from.

I have used Trados for more than 15 years now  and would find it extremely difficult to work without it.  About three years ago, I lost  the majority of my vision and now work with a mixture of text to speech systems and magnifiers. With the vast majority of programs, such as the Office suite, email programs, Internet browsers and so on, it would probably be easier for me to use a screen reader such as JAWS,  but most of my working day is spent working with Studio 2011/2014, and this simply does not work with any screen reader.

A company has been trying to write scripts for JAWS in order to make Studio accessible, but after 18 months they appear to have given up as a result of intractable problems.  I shall go into these in later posts.

Before any program can hope to be accessible for a screen reader, it must first be accessible for users who cannot for any reason use a mouse. In other words, all elements of the program must be available without the need to touch the mouse. This is not the case with Trados, and this is the first and most fundamental problem that needs to be addressed.

There are dozens of functions and screen areas that cannot be  accessed without using the mouse. in this post, I shall restrict myself to one or two examples of each type of problem.

  • Marked access keys do not work or call the wrong functions
    Since the introduction of the ribbon (which brings with it many other problems), many of the marked access keys in wizards and dialog boxes either failed to function or call the wrong function. For instance, most of the wizards have a "Finish" button, and the letter "F" is underlined, indicating that it is an access key.  However,  if you press Alt+F in any wizard, this switch is the ribbon to the File ribbon. Similarly, if you are adding files to a project, the "Add" button has the access key "A", but this opens the "Add-Ins" ribbon.

    If access keys are marked, they must work.
  • Designated hot keys do not function
    I have come across this in a number of places, but only remember one offhand. In the Projects view, if you select a project and open the context menu, the Remove from List function is shown as having the hotkey Ctrl+Alt+F4. This does not work. As I say, there are other instances of this problem.
  • Parts of dialog boxes cannot be reached using the keyboard alone
    In the project creation wizard, for instance, and in the Add Files page, the entire toolbar  and all the functions it contains (Add File, Add Folder, ...) Is not accessible without the mouse, and, as pointed out above  the access keys do not always work.

    This appears to be pretty well true of all toolbars within dialog boxes.
  • Navigation functions do not move the focus
    Screen reader users need to be able to navigate to a particular point in a program and then listen to what is there. Currently, I achieve this by  navigating (visually, with screen magnifiers) to the text I wish to hear, selecting the text (Ctrl+A, Shift+Arrow, etc.) and then reading the selected text.  This only works, however, if the focus or the insertion point actually moves to the position on screen that I navigate to. But this is often not the case. Try the following:
    In the editor, look up any word in concordance. Now press Alt+V (View Ribbon) and H (Concordance Search), which should put me in the concordance window.
    If you now press Shift + Arrow Right, you will find that the insertion point and focus have not moved, and you continue selecting the source (or target) text.
    It is not actually possible to get to any of the panes outside the editor without the mouse.

These are just a few of many hundreds of individual  examples  where Studio 2014 cannot be used without the mouse.  The situation with Studio 2011 was far better, as the vast majority of primary functions were available from the menu system, which could be navigated  in the same way as any other menu system, namely using access keys even if no hotkeys were available.

Although I shall mention many other issues in subsequent posts, the issue of keyboard accessibility  is absolutely crucial, as vision-impaired users  (and, indeed many other users) simply cannot use a mouse.

To experience the problems for yourself, simply start up Studio, disconnect the mouse and try to set up a project and stopped translating.  Even that simple test fails,  but does not even begin to address the problems that visually impaired users have.

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