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Re: Are Screenreaders "aural" devices?

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2003 10:57:23 -0400
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Cc: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <007a01c33285$4468e4b0$6401a8c0@handsontech>

I'll conceed that some screen readers are used with a mouse, I do not
understand the keyboard reference though at least on the windows sied, there
are things you can do with a screen reader using the keyboard that you
cannot do without one or some other at.  Take mouse keys for instance, they
are not as good as jaws which allows you to do much more with the mouse
pointer via the keyboard.  The difference between an aural rendering engine
and a screen reader is that the aural rendering engine usually does not have
a navigable interface as such but rather the internface is confined to
controlling the aural presentation.  Any navigation is passed to something

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@sidar.org>
To: "David Poehlman" <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Cc: "David Woolley" <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>; <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Saturday, June 14, 2003 10:52 AM
Subject: Re: Are Screenreaders "aural" devices?

I disagree fairly completely here.

Screen readers are used by people who have reading problems but
navigate happily with the mouse. And many browsers support people
navigating with the keyboard better than screen readers do.

Screen readers are used to give an aural presentation - sometimes
augmenting the information on the screen with other information it gets
from the operating system.

This strikes me as being close to a definitive example of an aural
device, which should allow the user to customise the aural presentation.

just my 2 cents


On Saturday, Jun 14, 2003, at 14:39 Europe/Zurich, David Poehlman wrote:

> a screen reader is characterized by the following:
> 1> use of the keyboard only to facilitate navigation when using a
> computer.
> One could argue that one could use a screen reader for this reason
> alone if
> one were in need of an environment of this type but still used vision
> to
> read the screen.
> 2> information is conveyed through means such as a speech synthesizer
> or
> braille display and arguably, allow changes in the ui to compensate for
> differences in visual capabilities of the user such as by changing the
> colors, contrast and font sizes etc.  Css is for presentation, screen
> readers controll presentation so are not aural devices.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "David Woolley" <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
> To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
> Sent: Saturday, June 14, 2003 7:01 AM
> Subject: Re: Are Screenreaders "aural" devices?
>> 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
> That is not an argument for aural not being the best media type to
> describe them, but one for a new media type.  The real reason that
> JAWS etc. don't act as being of aural type is that authors don't
> write style sheets for that type.  The same would apply with a more
> refined classification.
> My impression is that the CSS authors were thinking of screenreaders
> when
> they created that type.
> PS "auditory interactive experience" sounds like its straight out of
> a product brochure.
Charles McCathieNevile                          Fundación Sidar
charles@sidar.org                                http://www.sidar.org
Received on Saturday, 14 June 2003 10:57:32 UTC

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