Re: Are Screenreaders "aural" devices?

I can tell you what they are not, they are not speech synthesizers nor are
they braille devices to be fed at this point.  A verbal acreen access
package has eyes that turn what happens in the computer into an auditory
interactive experience with the aide of a speech synthesizer and or a
braille display which is its slave.  In a situation where youhave an oral
browser, the synthesizer plays a larger role in that what it puts out is
directly controlled by what goes into it.  In a screen access package, the
user has much more controll.  If you are using a telephone, aural
presentation is highly appropriate because here all the controll comes from
the server and the only thing we have controll over is what parts to speak.
An aural device is an enterpreting delivery system.  AS much as possible, a
screen reader relies on the skill of the user to do the enterpretation.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Kynn Bartlett" <>
To: "David Poehlman" <>
Cc: "wai-ig list" <>
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2003 9:09 PM
Subject: Are Screenreaders "aural" devices?

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 <>           
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain      
Author, CSS in 24 Hours             
Inland Anti-Empire Blog            
Shock & Awe Blog                 

Received on Friday, 13 June 2003 22:19:43 UTC