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Are Screenreaders "aural" devices?

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 18:09:59 -0700
Cc: wai-ig list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
To: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Message-Id: <EB556A19-9E04-11D7-AEE2-000393D9E692@idyllmtn.com>

On Friday, June 13, 2003, at 04:33 PM, David Poehlman wrote:
> Screen readers are not aural devices.  The provide a means where by one
> should be able to opperate in their respective environment as long as 
> the
> information and interactivity does not have to be "seen".

Which of the following categories, taken from the CSS 2 specification,
best matches screenreaders?

Begin quote::

The names chosen for CSS media types reflect target devices for which 
relevant properties make sense. In the following list of CSS media 
the parenthetical descriptions are not normative. They only give a sense
of what device the media type is meant to refer to.

   Suitable for all devices.
   Intended for speech synthesizers. See the section on aural style
   sheets for details.
   Intended for braille tactile feedback devices.
   Intended for paged braille printers.
   Intended for handheld devices (typically small screen, monochrome,
   limited bandwidth).
   Intended for paged, opaque material and for documents viewed on screen
   in print preview mode.  Please consult the section on paged media for
    information about formatting issues that are specific to paged media.
   Intended for projected presentations, for example projectors or print
   to transparencies. Please consult the section on paged media for
   information about formatting issues that are specific to paged media.
   Intended primarily for color computer screens.
   Intended for media using a fixed-pitch character grid, such as
   teletypes, terminals, or portable devices with limited display
   capabilities. Authors should not use pixel units with the "tty"
   media type.
   Intended for television-type devices (low  resolution, color,
   limited-scrollability screens, sound available).

::end quote

If screenreaders are attempting to use rules that target type "screen",
it's no fault of the designer.  By the CSS spec, a designer can
write rules and reasonably expect that speech synthesis devices will
not read them unless they are media type "all" or "aural".

If a screenreader is written to only scrape the visual content, then,
well, what do you expect?


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                     http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain                http://idyllmtn.com
Author, CSS in 24 Hours                       http://cssin24hours.com
Inland Anti-Empire Blog                      http://blog.kynn.com/iae
Shock & Awe Blog                           http://blog.kynn.com/shock
Received on Friday, 13 June 2003 21:04:47 UTC

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