Friday, January 29, 2016

Trip Planner Bakeoff Item 1: Puget Sound Trip Planner Mobile

Hooray. There is a new more accessible release of the Puget Sound Trip Planner.

Sigh. There is still a ways to go.

RantWoman's personal grump of the day: RantWoman, in the middle of a bigger Trip Planner bakeoff decided to try the trip she was trying to plan using the Puget SOund Trip Planner on her Android phone. RantWoman has fat fingers. If RantWoman wants to enter data, she turns her phone on its side and makes the screen rewrite in landscape mode. RantWoman tried to do that to enter something in her Android phone. The screen went nowhere and RantWoman decided that explore by touch with teeny narrow kays was going to make her way too grumpy even to try to go any further.

Sigh. Whine. Moan. Grumble. Time to email someone...

The bigger grump:
The Puget Sound Trip Planner collects information from a number of public transit agencies all around the Puget Sound. RantWoman thinks many agencies pooling development efforts makes VERY good sense. RantWoman thinks this kind of information and this kind of app are HIGHLY relevant for blind people who depend on transit not only to get to and from work but also more many other aspects of normal life. RantWoman wishes that pooling development efforts had resulted in a more accessible release 1.

RantWoman regrets that Release 2 still has room for improvement. the kind of room that also makes RantWoman wonder whether there were any humans and particularly any humans who regularly use accessibility tools involved in the testing for Release 2. RantWoman will go even further. Were there any PAID humans involved in testing the accessibility features?

RantWoman mentions the PAID part because RantWoman gets requests all the time for volunteer testers. These requests go into the neverending haystack of RantWoman's email inbox. Frequently these requests are never to be seen again or at least until months later if RantWoman gets around to cleaning up email. But RantWoman thinks something like the Puget Sound Trip Planner is too important for multiple transit agencies, too critical for too many users to rely only on volunteer testers. RantWoman realizes that doing some actual research about the testing regimen might be in order. RantWoman will put this on her to-do list.

RantWoman does note that the developer team seems to have been very responsive to an accessibility issue that showed up in RantWoman's email. An iPhone user wanted to do something RantWoman does all the time, change the times put into the trip plan query. The attempt to do this produced such an awesome display of technie gobbledygook and the person posting the question is a knowledgable enough user that RantWoman figured there were no smart blind people tricks to be shared. RantWoman suggested just sending the very same message off to the people who created the Trip Planner.

A few days later, return email revealed "we were able to duplicate your problem" and a fix is either in the works or already done.

RantWoman also notes, she was not the only person grousing on the discussion list about testing failing to test for situations humans do all the time and / or failing to test with accessibility tools turned on.

RantWoman is not an automated testing whiz kid but RantWoman suspects that it is frequently very easy to write test scripts that seem to yield entirely satisfactory accessibility ratings but that miss critical functionality, for example failing to include human behaviors such as changing the times entered. Hence RantWoman's questions about humans in the testing process and another question about contracts and the acceptance criteria for a product with inadequate accessibility features.

But RantWoman has grumped enough for one day--AND RantWoman still has other grumps to go. Good Grief!

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