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Re: Copywriting for Screenreaders (was Alt text for URL's)

From: Jennifer Sutton <jensutton@earthlink.net>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 09:15:36 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org


I'd just like to echo Lloyd's comments about the use of headings.  I follow 
practices similar to those he describes i.e. relying more and more (when I 
can) on headings than "skip nav"s.  However, let me make a couple of brief 
points which should be obvious to this group, but . . .

Skip navigation links are not just for blind folks.  Sometimes, discussions 
on this list seem to me to be a bit "blindness-centric," not to mention 
screen-reader specific.  I'm always glad to see Bob chiming in here, and, 
as a Window-Eyes user, I'll try to make more time to chime in, too.

Many (most?) of us on this list who respond and identify ourselves as blind 
are among the expert user category. So, when I say that I happen to use 
headings often, and use them more and more, I'd want to stress that I surf 
a lot.  In fact, I do it all day, every day, because that's what I'm paid 
to do. I'm also often paid to try to remember (and emulate) the typical 
behaviors of less experienced surfers who are blind, but I find it's 
important that I be vigilant in this regard.

In short, I don't use my screen reader in the ways many others who're blind 
that I know do. Heck, I see a lot of blind folks wanting to turn off the 
rich information we get about Web pages because they think it's excess 
chatter, and they don't know what it means.

Just some food for thought.

I also wouldn't want to buck a trend, but . . . I wondered if the subject 
line needed a bit of a change.


At 08:44 AM 2/17/2005, Lloyd Rasmussen wrote:

>I seldom use skipnav links anymore.  With Window-Eyes and IE6, I try to go 
>to the first heading or to the first block which has two or more lines of 
>two or more characters, then look around with the MSAA cursor.  The 
>default for this "next text" command in Window-Eyes is 1 or more lines of 
>1 or more characters, but I found this to often pick up the text between 
>nav links, so I changed it.  I think the default for JAWS is 1 or more 
>lines of 25 or 30 characters, which is probably not a bad heuristic 
>either.  It would be really useful if more sites would using headings in a 
>semantically meaningful way, but I'm preaching to the choir by saying it here.
>I use Lynx to get a good text rendering of some kinds of web pages, but 
>for table browsing and interpretation, the IE/screen reader solutions work 
>much, much better.
Received on Thursday, 17 February 2005 14:15:55 UTC

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