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[Fwd: Internet sonification browser makes web graphics more accessible]

From: David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 08:25:26 -0500
Message-ID: <38297246.B209F6B7@clark.net>
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
couldn't find an url.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Internet sonification browser makes web graphics more
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 11:31:02 +0100
From: peter.b.l.meijer@philips.com
Reply-To: uaccess-l@trace.wisc.edu
To: <uaccess-l@trace.wisc.edu>

Hi All,

Currently a new web image sonification browser is under development,
intended to make pure web graphics more accessible to totally blind 
users by sounding the content of GIF or JPEG images as "soundscapes".

The user provides the URL of an image or a web page, and this results
in a corresponding soundscape or a list of images and page links,
respectively. In the latter case, the user can subsequently select 
and activate an image reference from the parsed HTML web page and get
the soundscapes of that image. So one can either get the sound of 
an image directly through its URL, or indirectly by first having the
sonification browser agent retrieve all image references from a web 
page URL and then selecting an image URL from the listed references.

The software is meant for use in combination with a powerful screen
reader such as Jaws for Windows or Window-Eyes. It depends on image
complexity to what extent one will be able to learn to make sense
of the often very complex sounds of images. Simple line graphs are
among the most accessible image types. For instance, a web image
of a sine wave plotted as a bright curve on a dark background will 
sound as a single tone going up and down in pitch as the curve is
traced from left to right. For dark lines on a bright background one 
can apply the inverse video option to hear out the lines.

The currently available browser features are described on the web


The image sonification browser is an integral part of The vOICe 
Learning Edition "seeing-with-sound" software. That software is 
currently available for free for personal use, and user feedback
on the new browser features is welcome. Note that the browser 
only sounds images, not the text of a web page. For reading the
text of web pages you should use your screen reader in combination
with a regular browser such as Netscape or Microsoft Internet 
Explorer. However, it is possible to synchronize your regular web 
browser with the sonification browser by optionally letting the 
sonification browser launch your default web browser on the very 
same URL that you pasted into the sonification browser dialog. 
Then the web page parsed for image files by the sonification 
browser will be the same as the one loaded automatically into your
regular browser, and you only need to alt-tab among windows to 
manually switch between your regular Internet browser to read the
text and the Internet sonification browser for hearing images.

For discussion of details and experiences, you can subscribe to 
the seeingwithsound user group (mailing list) by sending a blank 
e-mail to 


With special thanks to David Poehlman and Unisys for arranging
an LZW license for the built-in GIF image decoder, which forms
a perfect example of how cooperation between users and developers
can make a real difference.


Peter Meijer

E-mail: Peter.B.L.Meijer@philips.com
Soundscapes from The vOICe - Seeing with your Ears!
Received on Wednesday, 10 November 1999 08:32:34 UTC

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