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Changing Instant Messaging Platforms at Work, Will the New One be Accessible?

May 25, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In an effort to move work related instant messaging traffic in house, my employer has decided to switch away from AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) to a solution that can be deployed on an internal server. The server will be based on the open source Jabber (XPP) protocols. As soon as I learned the protocol to be used, it felt like deja vu. I will explain the reason later.

After learning this news, I began a search for an accessible Jabber instant messaging client. Our local IT staff recommended a messenger client called GAIM, which has been renamed to Pidgin due to a trademark issue with America Online over the use of the term AIM. (Oh, no! There we go again!) After working with Pidgin for just a few minutes, I realized that it was going to be totally inaccessible for my needs. It appears to have been written using GTK+, which appears to be a UNIX GUI toolkit ported over to Windows. As a result, Pidgin might work extremely well with a Gnome screen reader like Orca. I also wonder how this might work on the Mac with VoiceOver. Our Linux, other *nix based and Mac user friends will, hopefully, set us straight.

Finally, I remembered the reason for my previous deja vu experience. While working as a network administrator for Amerion, I set up and utilized the Exodus Jabber instant messenger client back in 2001 to communicate with internal colleagues. Though changes have been made to the software since that time, my initial testing with Exodus shows it to be quite accessible after a couple of minor control reclassifications. Our IT staff has not yet implemented the new server, so I am not able to test this new client internally. If anyone would be interested in testing this client with me using public Jabber servers, please download and install your own copy of Exodus and send me e-mail so we can set a time to get together.

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3 opinions on “Changing Instant Messaging Platforms at Work, Will the New One be Accessible?

  1. Exodus is usable, but I have found Miranda IM from http://www.miranda-im.org to be much more powerful and usable via the keyboard. It does support jabber, and the latest development builds include updated jabber features. If you need a jabber client for Windows, I highly recommend this one. I’ve been using it as my exclusive IM program for years.
    Steve from http://www.steve-audio.net

  2. Hi, I use Miranda IM too and I am very excited of its features and accessibility. The Jabber protocol is as accessible as any other protocol available in the client. Just try it and you’ll feel the difference.

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