Re: Draft blurbs for BAD outreach on wiki for comment

Hi Denis,

Yes you are not seeing something regarding screen magnification. What
you are missing is the difference between assistive technology and
accessibility support.

There are many important assistive technologies that do not provide
accessibility support.  Some like screen magnifiers take inaccessible
data and make it usable, not accessible but usable.  Others take
accessible data and use it's accessibility features to make the data

There is a big difference.  If you have an image of text in a jpeg
without a text alternative, your text is somewhat usable with a screen
magnifier, but the medium is not accessible.  The screen magnifier
reduces user complaints about inaccessible data, and enables it to go
unchallenged. If you text is part of a properly marked up web page
then you can modify the view with assistive technology using CSS,
JavaScript (or both), or the built in accessibility support of the
browser. These AT's use the accessibility of the page to restructure
the page to use screen space well.

In recent years screen readers have gotten smart in 2 ways.  1) they
track certain fixed areas on the file while moving freely over the
over the rest of the data. 2) Some do a word wrapped transcription to
text.  The latter is not true magnification, and does qualify as
accessibility support.  So far the transcription tools are primitive
but I am hoping for progress.

For serious reading, a book with 6x magnification is better for me
than a screen magnifier.  The horizontal scrolling makes mathematical
logic or even JavaScript closure a little to hard to read.  As far as
programming is concerned O'Reilly actually makes its material
available in well marked up HTML.  Mathematics is a little more
primitive.  I have found some on the Kindle.


On 1/26/12, Denis Boudreau <> wrote:
> Hi Wayne,
> Maybe I'm missing something here. If I do, please help me understand.
> Even though I'm not in any position to really argue with you as I am not a
> screen magnifier user myself (though I seldom test with them for
> accessibility purposes), I disagree with you when you're saying they're
> nothing more than a pair of 6x glasses.
> While using software like ZoomText in 5x mode for example, you actually get
> only 1/25th of the page presented to you. You are therefore missing a lot of
> information that is presented outside the viewport. It can hardly be
> considered the same as wearing a really strong pair of glasses as you're
> still seeing the whole interface, not simply 1/25th of it (or in the case of
> said glasses, 1/36th if transposed to the same technology baseline).
> From my understanding, while you are wearing a pair of 6x glasses, you will
> be focusing on a specific parts of the content (like most people do), but
> you're still getting the global picture of the web page. Screen magnifying
> software does not allow that.
> To me, it's a very different thing and therefore leads me to believe that
> the context in which screen magnifying software is used actually makes it an
> assistive technology just like screen readers - though serving different
> needs obviously. and that'S especially true when the tool is used in
> conjunction with a screen reader.
> So, Am I missing something? :)
> Best,
> /Denis
> On 2012-01-24, at 12:52 PM, Wayne Dick wrote:
>> Hi Again,
>> I forgot one point.  Web accessibility and  and screen magnification
>> are disjoing technologies.
>> I think we should stop using screen magnifiers as an example of
>> assistive technology that require accessibility.  Actually screen
>> readers do not provide accessibility support, they provide
>> inaccessibility enabling.
>> WAI literature is filled with the notion that screen magnifiers have
>> something to do with accessibility.  They don't.  Screen magnifiers
>> are no different than good strong pair of reading glasses, like my 6x
>> pair.  You can read with them, but it difficult and uncomfortable.
>> Magnification is better than nothing, but it's not even OK.  The book
>> you read with prescription reading glasses is still inaccessible
>> media.
>> We are EO on a new project.  We don't need to attack magnification as
>> a tool, but we don't need to promote it.
>> Wayne

Received on Monday, 30 January 2012 14:43:21 UTC