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Re: Text-to-speech feature: a real help ?

From: David Best <davebest@ca.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2012 11:37:28 -0500
To: "Patrick H. Lauke" <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF666AD3B1.31087168-ON852579AB.005B33A9-852579AB.005B5243@ca.ibm.com>
It really depends upon which user target base you are referring to. All
users have different needs, and varying skills. I believe seniors, those
with cognitive disabilities, and possibly those with English as a second
language, might find the text-to-speech feature very helpful. However, the
text-to-speech does not identify page elements like Links and Combo boxes,
and thus limits its usefulness. Some users might find this a useful option
for those web pages that have lots of text content, but would require the
ability to focus the speech only to a section of the page. For those users
that have user browser agent tools, there is little value, but for those
that do not and have less experience in navigation, might consider it a
helpful feature.

David Best, Advisory IT Specialist
IBM Global Business Services, Canada

From:	"Patrick H. Lauke" <redux@splintered.co.uk>
To:	w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Date:	02/21/2012 09:56 AM
Subject:	Re: Text-to-speech feature: a real help ?

On 21/02/2012 14:46, Terrill Bennett wrote:
> I have to ask...
> 1) If the user requires text-to-speech to understand your site, how did
> the user GET to your web site in order to benefit from this technology?
> ("Magic" is not an acceptable answer).
> 2) If the user requires text-to-speech to understand your site, and
> since users spend most of their time on OTHER web sites... what do they
> use when they leave your site?
> Answering these two questions will probably answer your original

I have to agree with Terrill's sentiment here. I've been known to be
quite critical of these sorts of site-specific tools (a particular pet
hate of mine has been BrowseAloud in the past) - though I'd even include
things like text size switchers and colour changers to the list, as
they're again site-specific.

It's likely that users that need those sorts of tools have them
installed on their machine already. The only use case that is then cited
is "what about if they're not on their own machine...maybe in a library
or an internet cafe, where they can't install anything" - which I'd
still argue is then the responsibility of the library/cafe to provide
assistive tech and relevant configuration options, rather than the
burden being shifted onto each individual site.


> At 09:17 AM 2/21/2012, Régine Lambrecht wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> do you have references on how impaired users consider text-to-speech
>> alternative, such as Readspeaker (http://www.readspeaker.com).
>> Is it a good feature to add to a page that *is already accessible* ?
>> Does it help impaired users or do they consider this negatively (maybe
>> because you can?t skip paragraphs or easily read again words, for
>> instance?) ?
>> Thank you for your input
>> *Régine Lambrecht
>> *E-fficiency Coordinator
>> Prevention Advisor

Patrick H. Lauke
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[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]

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Received on Tuesday, 21 February 2012 16:39:40 UTC

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