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Screenreaders and how they behave

From: Simon White <simon.white@jkd.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2002 14:39:47 +0100
Message-ID: <FDFC0668A850D246BC4231715D94904E0CDCF8@uranus.jkd.co.uk>
To: "WAI List (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Dear All,
My boss has posed an interesting conundrum regarding screenreaders and as neither of us are visually-impaired to the degree that we use screenreaders every day, I feel that the only people who can answer this for us are those who actually do use them all the time.

I have copied his comments to me to this list in the hope that someone can answer this conundrum for me. I thank you all in advance.

Kind regards to all

While sites obviously pass all guidelines, they don't actually appear to be practical for blind people to use with screenreaders. I looked at a number of other sites and many of these problems are replicated across all of them.

My particular concern is with forms - the screenreader races through the boxes reading things like 'name, text, address, text... etc. Now I appreciate that I am not completely blind, but it was difficult enough to halt the screenreader at the right time when I could see where each box was. I can only imagine what it would be like if you couldn't see the prompts.

As you know, accessible projects will fail if people cannot fill in the forms on a site. Is there any way to get screenreaders to stop at key points, rather than merely delaying them through full stops? I envisage a form where its purpose is explained properly at the outset, then the option given to leave the page or continue with the form, and then the screenreader takes the user through the form explaining what is required and waiting for a user action before moving on. Is this either appropriate or possible?

Simon White
Business Solutions
Westminster Business Square
1-45 Durham Street
SE11 5JH
Tel:  020 7793 9399
Fax: 020 7793 9299
URL:  www.jkd.co.uk

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Received on Wednesday, 10 July 2002 09:39:50 UTC

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