Thread Subject: Re: GeneralIssues:Speech interfacesandequivalent facilitation
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From: Fratkin, Mike
Date: Mon, Jan 22 2007 7:10 AM
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My issue with this involves the inclusion of a speech engine used to
replace a screen reader or to provide equivalent facilitation. A
significant number of our employees who are blind use refreshable
Braille as an adjunct to speech. It greatly enhances their ability to
be efficient and competitive in a production environment. When speech
substitutes are incorporated into web or software applications, it
typically does not provide Braille output as well. This disadvantages
the user who normally uses a screen reader and Braille together. My
argument was primarily against speech interfaces used to provide
Just to close this loop maybe.
I think refreshable Braille is *not* a requirement, but should be an
option available for some devices. I have not thought it through
sufficiently to write clearly on this yet. I hope others can think
further on this.
I suppose what I'm thinking here is that Braille should be an option for
anyone who can not use speech output for whatever reason--E.G. lack of
hearing or situational reasons. The problem is that this pushes us into
the condition of addressing multiple disabilities which can be a very
slippery slope indeed. For technical work, such as programming, when
speech tends to be slow to announce the complicated punctuation, Braille
for Braille readers is great and can be used to match locations of code
on the line when important, improve contextual reading of information
etc. On the other hand, allowing speech output to be exchanged and/or
supplemented by an external Braille display is a very helpful function
in some situations.
one of my favorite items is the Braille Star--which is a Braille only
display that has the ability to be used as a stand-alone notetaker.
This device in meeting situations works great as I'm not attempting to
listen to two things, but rather "reading" Braille and listening to the
meeting. I know many people who are blind do not read Braille, but this
is only a skill limitation, not an inherent limitation mostly--excepting
folks with tactual disabilities.
For example, devices which require reading of content in situations
where extra sound would be prohibitive or not helpful, such as in some
meeting situations, or where listening would be difficult such as in
very loud places. I've been on planes where I couldn't make out the
speech well due to volume of headphones being limited, and the fact that
i didn't want to destroy my ears to hear the speech output.
David Poehlman wrote:
Iff being self brailling were required under limitted circumstances, it
would become easy.
On Jan 10, 2007, at 2:37 PM, Peter Korn wrote:
> Is refreshable braille support something we feel is a requirement?
> I can waffle on this--but if I were deaf/blind I'd not waffle one bit.
A desktop is a very different environment from a cell phone. As we are
crafting an update that is attempting to apply to both worlds, we need
to be thoughtful about how we phrase any Braille requirements. Also,
being "self-voicing" is a much easier proposition today than being
DHS Office on Accessible systems & Technology
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