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Is embedded audio helping accessibility?

From: Michelle Podd <mpodd@iqnetcom.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2001 11:03:57 -0500
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000001c11b6c$bd720a30$6600a8c6@shopdome>
I'm new to the list and accessibility issues and will briefly introduce
myself. My name is Michelle Podd and I am a Web Designer in Canada for a
relatively new Internet company. I've been asked to research the issue of
Accessiblility for two reasons: the first is that we want to make all of our
sites accessible and second, we are creating a portal site for the purpose
of being a mass resource for people with vision and hearing impairments to
reach the many resources out there, to learn, to find SAP programming
schedules for their area, etc.

The infant site uses an audio embed with a Play / Stop area - the default is
Off. I believe it's purpose was to provide anyone, anywhere with the ability
to have the content read to them in a human-type voice (we use iSpeak from
Fonix Corp)without having to have any special hardware or software on their
end - besides a sound card and speakers, of course.

Anyway, in my research travels, I'm learning that disabled persons surfing
the web will most likely have what they need on their end to do so. Besides,
this equipment is used in all of their other computer applications - the
internet is just one of them.

This project recently fell in my lap and the manager who originally created
this vision is no longer with us so I'm not able to inquire about some of
the decisions he made. I'd like to provide quality guidance to my company as
well as meet the needs of the disabled web surfer.

So my question to the list is this:  Is the use of an audio embed (with an
on/off switch) that reads the content of the web page a help or a hinderance
to accessibility? Is there an audience for this type of application?

Thank you in advance for your help in this matter.

Michelle Podd
Received on Thursday, 2 August 2001 11:02:01 GMT

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