The two worlds of Voiceover
Hi, I thought I would join in ☺️ to be honest I prefer my iMac, this summer my PC running jaws 14 and windows seven packed in, since I have an iPhone and an iPad I thought I would try an iMac, I make music, so I thought that would be a good move, and because my old computer had broken I decided to have a try, I have had the iMac for three months now, and I am having lots of fun using garage band! I couldn't go back to Windows now, but if I had to do I could still use jaws, but what I like about the iMac is Voice over updates with the machine, don't have to keep spending every year on jaws any more, that's my little story Appel vis boys and girls, by the way, I am also loving Apple Music ☺️
First, let me say that I really love my iPhone and it is incredibly accessible. But I am a confirmed Windows user for several reason.
If one is just doing genral computer work such as e-mail, simple document creation, internet browsing, etc. I think either OS will do the trick.
However, if you are a power user needing specialty tools, need to create complex documents, or do work that is out of the norm, then I would definitely recommend Windows.
The commercial screen readers that are available for Windows have the ability to create complex scripts for customizing the user interaction with applications. These scripts can be created and easily shared (in fact there are many sharing communities).
Now here is where I make the distinction between "accessibility" and "useability". Many programs are "accessible" out of the box with either OS, but in order to be productive and compete with one's sighted peers one must be able to use aplications efficiently. thus, the aplications must be made not only "accessible" but easily and efficiently "useable". The "useability" of aplications is often made possible by custom scripts that improve how a blind person will interact with an application and actually use the program.
My feeling is that the commercial screen readers availabl for Windows provide this degree of "useability" of aplications for those performing tasks that may be considered to be out of the norm. I don't think VoiceOver gives that kind of access to these power users.
I see that this thread has been brought back to life, so I thought I'd post a follow-up comment here. As most if not all of you are aware by now, I have had my MacBook for a little under 2 years. I have therefore had time to explore various things on it, and I have to heartily commend Apple for doing an awesome job with VoiceOver. I am now running the first update to OS X El Capitan and although I have encountered some minor issues, this seems to be a very good release. Regarding running Windows on here, I may do that at a later time seeing as there are now ways of doing that. iTunes is super cool, and I'm excited to try out Garage Band. I actually previewed some of the instruments, and they sound pretty sweet. I'm going to talk with my parents about renewing my AppleCare so that I will be eligible for more training and perhaps a Genius Bar appointment or two. But it seems that VoiceOver is only getting better as Apple rolls out these updates and upgrades. Sure VO still has its fair share of quirks, but it's worked great for me thus far.
While I agree that in principle scripting can aid usability, it can just as easily create knowledge gaps and walled gardens that are specific to a given screen reader. Moreover, it's not really all that clear to me that VoiceOver isn't already scriptable enough, and that the reason we don't see more of it is simply that Macs are less omnipresent in the workplace. I will agree with you, though, that there is a difference between accessible and usable, and also that there is real value in making jobs more efficient, and Windows has typically been the realm of keyboard accessibility.
Of course it also depends on your profession. I am a "Power user" but my work is system administration and occasionally system software development, and I wouldn't have any platform but Mac for that. If I could time travel to my uni days, I'd take my Mac with me, compiling software with gcc and doing typesetting in LaTeX. An XP Windows VM is all I need to work around any access issue in the few things I need on Windows.
There again, I'm mostly presently using OS X because I can't stand Windows, rather than for any accessibility-related reason. I've become very concerned with the quality of VoiceOver on the Mac in recent years, and have never felt the urge to switch back to Windows more than in the last couple. If it were not for the Windows spying and nagging, I might even have made the jump. I'll hold out, and see how things turn out. I'll probably never give up on Mac completely, if for no other reason than the excellent hardware, and the few apps that OS X simply does better than Windows ever will because of the way accessibility is done on that platform.