[Athen] AutoCad & Visually Impaired Student

Bourne, Sarah (MASSIT) sarah.bourne at mass.gov
Wed Mar 15 11:19:59 PDT 2017

"Microsoft Active Accessibility" (MSAA) is Window's application programming interface (or API) for communicating accessibility information. AutoCAD is apparently saying that they pass object, name, and state information to the API that can then be used by assistive technologies. If it doesn't work with JAWS, however, they are probably not sending enough of the right information, or that they have actions that can't be completed by keyboard alone - if you can't get to an object, it can't send information about it and you can't operate it.

By the way, Microsoft is replacing MSAA with Microsoft UI Automation. (This is a (fairly technical) comparison article from Microsoft: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms788733.aspx) I'm not sure that AutoCAD should be proud that they're still using the older and more limited MSAA.
Sarah E. Bourne
Director of IT Accessibility, MassIT
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
1 Ashburton Pl. rm 811 Boston MA 02108
sarah.bourne at mass.gov<mailto:sarah.bourne at mass.gov>

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Despins, Nicole
Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 1:28 PM
To: athen-list at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Athen] AutoCad & Visually Impaired Student

Does anyone have any experience working with a blind student using AutoCad? I am working with a blind student who is taking an Intro to Engineering class and having a lot of trouble with AutoCad accessibility. On AutoCad's VPAT it states that the software provides information to the user via the Microsoft Active Accessibility application. The best information that I could find was that the Microsoft Active Accessibility is now the built in Ease of Access Center. AutoCad doesn't work with JAWS and the narrator in the Ease of Access Center doesn't make it very accessible either. Anyone have any experience working with a blind or visually impaired student using AutoCad?

Nicole Despins
Assistive Technology Specialist/Math Liaison
Diablo Valley College

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