The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) just passed resolution 2016-04 Regarding Apple’s Inadequate Testing of Software Releases.
This resolution specifically targeted Apple’s testing of accessibility of VoiceOver between betas. Many spoke up during this event, and I honestly think that there were more against this resolution than for, but the NFB passed this resolution with a delegate roll call. Here is why iAccessibility does not support this resolution.
While there have been many bugs with VoiceOver and accessibility throughout the last few years of releases from Apple, there have been many other bugs as well. While the NFB states that these VoiceOver bugs keep people from being employed this is not the case. Typically, bugs that people find are fixed in later versions of the OS, and the truth is that if you took time to fix every bug then you would never put anything out for users to use. Would you effectively make it where users would not be employable altogether.
Since VoiceOver is a small portion of the iOS and Mac operating systems, it should be obvious that not everything can be fixed on initial release of an OS.
While Apple is not the only company to offer built in accessibility in its operating systems, it is currently the most popular. Despite its popularity, the National Federation of the blind should use this opportunity to target other companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google for their accessibility testing as they too release software with accessibility challenges.
The National Federation of the Blind has been responsible for many good changes to help blind people live the lives they want, but this resolution is not one of those changes. This resolution put a strain on relations between the NFB and its members with companies like Apple because it is saying how Apple should conduct business. Many of the reported bugs do not hamper productivity or cause an undo burden to users. Many of these bugs may be annoying at best but they are not ones that would cause users to not be able to get work done. I am really interested to see what others think about this resolution. Please put what you think in the comments, or on twitter at @iaccessibility1.