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Re: in-page text-to-speech

From: Chaals McCathieNevile <w3b@chaals.com>
Date: Sat, 11 Aug 2012 12:20:08 +0200
To: "W3C WAI-IG" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "Adam Cooper" <cooperad@bigpond.com>
Message-ID: <op.wivgbuhh22x22q@chaals>
Hi Adam,

On Sat, 11 Aug 2012 07:34:55 +0200, Adam Cooper <cooperad@bigpond.com>  
wrote:

> I have encountered some sites recently that use in-page text-to-speech.
> ReadSpeaker and BrowseAloud are two that spring to mind. I'd really
> appreeciate any thoughts about these kinds of supplemental technologies,
> particularly with regards to meeting the WCAG 2.0 conformance  
> requirements.

I'm not sure which requirements they meet. They create requirements based  
on 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 2.2.3. Arguably they can fulfil the requirements on 3.1.6

Voice output is a helpful feature for a number of people who don't have a  
screen reader and don't realise that it is helpful. People with reading  
difficulties, in particular, can get a lot of benefit.

But for people who do have a screen reader it tends to just get in the way  
and complicate the page, without providing a benefit.

So it is unlikely to be useful in fulfilling requirements, but as na  
additional service to users, so long as it is properly implemented, it can  
be valuable.

> An example of one of these TTs implementations is at:
> <http://www.health.vic.gov.au/news/new-laws-protect-victorians-in-supported-residential-services.htm>

(enclosing long URLs in <> helps stop them being broken by email systems)

The reading is pretty nice, and doesn't seem to interfere much - although  
I could not find how to pause it with the keyboard :(

It does suggest that the people who made the page should try it a bit more  
- first thing I get after the title is "two elderly men reading the paper  
two elderly men reading the paper 6 July 2012 ...". Screen reader users  
will probably recognise what happened there, but it is a bit of a jolt.

It's also a bit annoying that the service reads all the links (since I  
can't get it to stop) without clarifying that they are links.

So overall it has some real benefit (mostly in areas that WCAG doesn't  
cover) and although it introduces some negatives I'd say it is a useful  
addition - but in terms of pure legalistic compliance it has created more  
problems than it resolves.

cheers

Chaals

-- 
Chaals - standards declaimer
Received on Saturday, 11 August 2012 10:20:47 UTC

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