W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > April to June 2001

RE: What would a screen reader make of this?

From: Patrick Burke <burke@ucla.edu>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 09:03:19 -0700
Message-Id: <5.0.0.25.2.20010614084347.00ab8620@pop.bol.ucla.edu>
To: Jennifer Sutton <jensutton@earthlink.net>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hear here 137% to Jennifer's comments!, including:

At 07:52 AM 6/14/01, Jennifer Sutton wrote:
><I've seen folks who don't typically use screen readers get far too 
>wrapped up in how the screen reader *sounds*, and that's not what's at 
>issue for a site developer.  It takes a while to get used to the sound of 
>a screen reader, and I wonder if that time might be better spent watching 
>someone else use one, and/or paying someone to give concrete feedback on 
>pages.>


Yes, when people here speech synthesis (regardless of source) for the first 
time, they are usually either a) astounded that such a thing is possible, 
or b) horrified that the voice sounds so mechanical. This reaction then 
gets transferred over to the whole accessible design process, so that some 
designers go overboard (with "spacer" alt tags etc.) & others throw up 
their hands.

A screen reader demonstration site might still be a useful thing, but just 
hearing a page being gabbbled back isn't really the main point. If a page 
is droning on too long (more than 2.5 seconds, I'd say), users can stop 
speech, search for relevant text, jump to form fields, etc.

Perhaps this could be demonstrated with some accessible video showing how 
users of various screen readers would attack some example pages.

But, yeah, otherwise, hire a blind person who knows the technology to advise!

Beyond that, let the designers design to the WCAG, which will give the 
screen reader programmers a (somewhat more slowly moving) target to shoot 
for in their products.

Patrick
Received on Thursday, 14 June 2001 12:04:51 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Tuesday, 19 July 2011 18:13:55 GMT