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Re: Audio formats

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Fri, 07 Feb 2003 14:28:49 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: "Webmaster@EDD" <web@edd.ca.gov>
Cc: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Split the question into forms and manuals.


The talking book standard that Madeleine mentioned[1] is what you should review
as a model for what to do before thinking of anything else.


You do want to be participating in the evaluation of XForms technology for
this and all your forms uses during the Candidate Recommendation period for
this technology.  It is very promising for accessible forms to be the rule
rather than the exception.

On the other hand, your sponsor is not totally crazy in thinking of audio
media.  This is natural and it is where things increasingly will go.

For a natively-audio version of these, the first thing you should consider
is a voice dialog suitable to be accessed by phone.  This makes the dialog
designer responsive to audio dialog performance realities.  It will work for
people with impaired or absent vision and it will be a convenience for many

See the documents of the Voice Browser activity.  This technology the tools
you need for an "intentionally audio" transaction medium for the same kinds
of transactions handled in paper and the desktop web by forms.  This creates
a robot that approximates the order-taking person at a call center for a
direct merchant.

In addition, there is some chance that the working groups of the Chief
Information Officers Council in the U.S. Federal Government will be doing an
XForms-in-Daisy-Book pilot development as part of their hands-on review of
eForms technologies[2].  You absolutely want to track that activity for your
purposes, and may wish to join/form a team to do an implementation with a
California form.

[1] more information on the talking book standard


[2] more information on the eForms for eGovernment process under the 
Federal CIOC


At 01:04 PM 2003-02-07, Webmaster@EDD wrote:

>I have questions related to the presentation of audio files (.mpg, .wav,
>etc) as an assistive technology for the visually impaired user.  Does anyone
>have experience using audio files with respect to improving accessibility
>for the visually impaired community?
>My department is working on ways to increase accessibility of our web
>content.  My advice has stressed the importance of document formatting and
>tagging that will ensure navigability/usability in conjunction with screen
>reader browsing software.  I never considered audio files to be a
>particularly effective format for improving accessibility of content for the
>visually impaired user.
>One program are would like to deploy audio versions of their departmental
>forms and manuals (some of which are 50+ pages in length), with the
>rationale that visually impaired users can then "listen" to the forms.  I
>don't consider this to be an effective use of audio technology, however I
>have also never seen it used in that way.
>I'm curious to know whether or not others have found a way to use audio
>effectively in the context described.
>Sean Blackburn
>State of California
>Employment Development Department
>800 Capitol Mall, MIC 79-5, Sacramento, CA 95814-7735
Received on Friday, 7 February 2003 14:29:08 UTC

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