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RE: What would a screen reader make of this?

From: Marjolein Katsma <access@javawoman.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 18:47:12 +0200
Message-Id: <4.3.2.7.2.20010614183624.02bdbf58@pop.javawoman.com>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 10:52 2001-06-14 -0400, Jennifer Sutton wrote:
>Well, I have some thoughts about this idea of a site that would represent how a screen reader works, to test it.
>
>First of all, I wonder if folks who aren't experienced with screen readers consider contracting with folks who are as often as they might.  It'd save time, likely yield better feedback,  and employ folks.  I see lots of things cropping up that may make sense from the strict letter of 508 and/or from a sighted person's point of view, but would immediately be noticed by a screen reader user as not a great idea.

Valid ideas - but many people who just want to build an accessible site cannot afford to "employ folks". That's why a website providing some kind of testing would be valuable.

>I think that web page designers can make accessible pages best if they understand the basic concepts behind all screen readers, rather than getting bogged down in how to use the most complex features of one piece of software. 

How would they get to that understanding? We're back at the steep learning curve.
I know I once spent a whole long 3-day weekend with little sleep trying to get my head around the "basic concepts" using whatever information (including demo sound files) I could find on-line; but a 15-minute demo a month later made it all fall into place. Anyone sufficiently motivated can do what I did that weekend - but how many people would be able to find someone to demo what difficulties a user dependent on a screen reader encounters on-line? I was just plain lucky to be there.

>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.

But how would the lone developer 1) find someone to watch, and 2) see above - he'd have to be able to afford paying someone, too; many people don't.

Most web pages are *not* made by companies who can afford to pay someone. Many people would be willing to take accessibility into account - if they knew how and why.

Cheers,

Marjolein Katsma
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Received on Thursday, 14 June 2001 12:47:15 GMT

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