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Re: Audio formats

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 16:47:08 +1100
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
To: Madeleine Rothberg <madeleine_rothberg@wgbh.org>
Message-Id: <ED1ADAE2-3BF1-11D7-9058-000A95678F24@sidar.org>

Yes, DAISY talking books are a technology that enables reasonably 
useful audio presentation - particularly if combined with well 
marked-up text to start with (the full text enables searching, the 
markup makes production easier).

VoiceXML also provides a reasonably effective approach to managing 
interactions with Voice output. Although it is not yet mature with 
respect to mixed input (using browsers that have voice output and 
text/voice input, for example) it should be practicable to do this. And 
it probably makes sense to make the effort - if you can get hold of 
some help for a browser.

But all of these are optimisations made by providing a second version. 
Overall it seems to be of minor additional benefit.

Just using recorded audio and expecting people to listen to it is 
probably of dubious benefit - it often interferes with people's speech 
technology. Since people need their speech systems running to get as 
far as your pages, they are more likely to turn off your audio than 
theirs - so you would be doing a lot of expensive recording that your 
stated target audience aren't going to appreciate at all.

Your advice on having decent structure seems to be more valuable in 
this case. I would suggest there is little point just recording the 
audio unless you have some expectation that the work will be done to 
use it in a more advanced audio format provided (and of course 
maintained) as an alternative version - a significant undertaking.



On Saturday, Feb 8, 2003, at 05:39 Australia/Melbourne, Madeleine 
Rothberg wrote:

> It sounds like you are considering producing audio books. You may be 
> interested in the Digital Talking Book specification, which provides a 
> way to mark up an audio book to have navigation within it. If the 
> audio is combined with the full text of the book, then you have full 
> text searching as well as audio playback.
> More info from DAISY at:
> http://www.daisy.org
> -Madeleine
> -- 
> Madeleine Rothberg
> The CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media
> madeleine_rothberg@wgbh.org
> http://ncam.wgbh.org
> (617) 300-2492
> On Friday, February 7, 2003 1:04 PM, Webmaster@EDD <web@edd.ca.gov> 
> wrote:
>> 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.
Charles McCathieNevile           charles@sidar.org
Fundación SIDAR                       http://www.sidar.org
Received on Sunday, 9 February 2003 00:47:20 UTC

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