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RE: emotica, ASCII art and accessibility - some suggestions

From: Steve Donie <sdonie@zycor.lgc.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 13:25:25 -0600
Message-ID: <9F147E391A3FD111B9A800805F356C525B8AD9@lgcadev001.zycor.lgc.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Sometimes it is built into the Text-To-Speech rules. Most synthesizers and
speech engines support what is sometimes called a "dictionary" to do just
this. Some screen readers also do - I know that the old VERT screen reader
for DOS had this capability, and I imagine that some of the Windows screen
readers have this as well. It is usually up to the user to set them up

An interesting thing happened when I was working on the "Narrator" program
(a very simple MSAA-based, screen-reader like program) that is going to be
included in Windows 2000 (AKA NT5). I can't remember the exact scenario, but
it tried to read (C:) as "C smiley face", when it was just the drive "C:" in
parenthesis. The Narrator program didn't do the translation - it was the
Text-To-Speech engine. 

Steve Donie

-----Original Message-----
From: Marti [mailto:marti47@MEDIAONE.NET]
Sent: Friday, January 15, 1999 11:17 AM
To: waz@easynet.co.uk; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: emotica, ASCII art and accessibility - some suggestions

You got my vote! I may be the one that complained but I really am all for
more accessibility not less.  If my screen reader said smile and wink
instead of gobbeldegook it would be great.
I don't know if there are screen readers that do that
-----Original Message-----
From: waz@easynet.co.uk <waz@easynet.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Date: Friday, January 15, 1999 11:05 AM
Subject: emotica, ASCII art and accessibility - some suggestions

>In terms of proposing ASCII representations for things in online
>communication, without regard to whether or not the 'Air Hug' suggestion
>is something that will or will not catch on, the following things
>occurred to me:
>Things divide into two categories here - the small scale, 'inline'
>emoticon type ASCII stuff, like smileys, and the large scale graphical
>extravaganzas of full-blown multi-line ASCII artwork. Neither one is
>intrinsically accessible, and in terms of the second, I believe that the
>fact that there are as many accessiblity problems as there are with
>other kinds of graphics will not stop anyone from using it. ASCII art is
>out there and will not die - it is a shame that it is in the category of
>artwork that cannot necessarily be appreciated by all, but perhaps those
>who cannot see it will come to regard it in the same way that I
>personally regard opera - I ignore it and save time. The sensible
>compromise seems to me to suggest that ASCII art should only be used in
>sites and documents that either relate to ASCII art itself or that have
>some other kind of intrinsic accessibility issue. A special kind of PRE
>tag would be good, with an ALT of some sort, and then we could use ASCII
>art, and would have some way of making it accessible and dealing with
>the large online legacy of currently inaccessible-due-to-ascii-artwork
>Meanwhile, the inline emoticons and smileys are so widely distributed
>online as to have attained, as far as I can tell, the equivalent of
>language status, in a sense, so it isn't a question of telling people to
>stop using them, because they wont. Perhaps a solution might be to get
>screen readers to have a list of the most commonly used ones and
>translate them accordingly. Such a list could be managed centrally by
>the WAI, in the form of a simple text file, with each line containing
>the emoticon and the description seperated by tabs (or something), which
>screenreaders could update the latest version of on a regular basis and
>use to translate every :), :-) X| and ~;) they come across. and it
>should be two way - with an 'insert' smiley option - after all, why
>shouldn't users of screenreaders be able to use 'winking smiley' or
>whatever as well as anyone.
>Maintaining this file would be a reasonable amount of work, I imagine,
>especially as there may not be universal agreement on the best way to
>translate each of the major emoticons into each language required, but
>it seems to me worthwhile in the sense that I feel strongly that
>solutions to accessibility issues ought to try to bring everyone in to
>what is already there, not to reduce what is already there to what
>everyone can already see, as well as making sure that all the new stuff
>is universally accessible too.
>I would be happy to help sort this out to the extent that I am able,
>though I am not an expert on either emoticons or screenreaders -
>certainly there already exist many listings of 'yer basic online
>emoticons' - and I thought I'd seen one on the w3c site itself once
>(though I can't find it right now) - surely it's just a question of
>finding a list to build a canonical central list from, making sure the
>suggestion gets directed at screenreader writers and sorting it out with
>next versions of screenreader software. do no current screenreaders have
>a 'set this sequence of characters to mean this phrase' option? forwards
>or backwards?
>Apologies if this has all been hashed over before.
>cheers etc.,
>> The idea of an 'Air Hug' may be great but ..those slashes and dots are
>> very helpful for those of us who use screen readers. I would not like to
>> their use expanded.
>> Marti
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Robert C. Neff <rcn@fenix2.dol-esa.gov>
>> To: 'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org' <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
>> Date: Friday, January 15, 1999 8:27 AM
>> Subject: suggestion
>> >To those who are not familiar with the slang "Air Hug", here is an
>> > If you appreciate what someone has done and this act warrants a hug but
>> >are separated by distance (short, long, or over the internet) and cannot
>> >render the hug. You can extend your arms and pretend to hug and say "Air
>> >Hug"
>> >
>> >As I have not seen an ascii representation for an "Air Hug",  I propose
>> >\../ > and for a "GREAT BIG AIR HUG" < \\..// >
>> >
>> >Obviously I am in a good mood!
>> >
>> >Rob
>> >
Received on Friday, 15 January 1999 14:30:04 UTC

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