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Re: Accessibility Observations


From: Mark Rew
Date: Feb 28, 2002 7:51AM


This is interesting. Since you or someone in the discussion mentioned it, I
have been paying closer attention to how I navigate websites.

It is a combination of techniques often dependent on how well I already know
the lay out of the site. Usually when I connect to a site for the first time
I will let the screen reader speak everything on the page, at least until I
get an idea of where the information I'm interested in is located. If I have
been on the site before an generally know the navigation menus I will use the
"skip navigation" link to get to the content. If there is no "skip
navigation" link, I will stop the speech and quickly arrow down through the
links until I reach material I'm interested in. I have a feature that will
allow me to skip pass a group of links until there is a space or non-link
text. If I'm looking for a specific link that is near the beginning I will
stop the speech and tab to the link. If I know the link is some where within
a large number of lihks I will bring up a list of links and use the first
letter of the anchor text to jump to the link and click on it. Very seldom do
I just let the screen reader read everything on the page from beginning to

I hope these descriptions are clear enough for a non-screen reader user to
follow. Something that seems to be confusing to my graphics developers, is
the idea that I perceive all of the links as one following another in a linear
form. Thus, using the arrow down will take me through the links even if they
are layed out left to right on the screen. It seems to me that the screen
reader is reading the anchor elements in the order that they appear in the
html code, not where they appear on the screen. I dislike pages that will
give you part of the text, some more links, and then more text. My hotmail
does this with the header information a list of options then the body of the
message. Some on line magazines do this too. To the sighted person it may
look like that the options are off to the side, but my screen reader does not
know this. I'm not sure that is really how they are layed out. In either
case it is easy for the eye to jump pass material that the person does not
want to read. Where as the screen reader must get over it either by reading
the material, scrolling pass it, or having a means of jumping to another
location on the page. In Jaws the Insert key wplus the enter key will skip
pass a list of links, but it takes time to position the fingers and execute
the command. It is just as fast to let the screen reader speak a short list
or arrow pass. Usually for my hotmail inbox I just let the screen reader

If anyone is really interested in how I navigate with the screen reader write
me offline and I will explain specifics.

Mark Rew

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Van Dijck" < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2002 8:49 AM
Subject: Re: Accessibility Observations

> > How people use screen readers is an interesting question. In user tests I
> > have found surprisingly little typical behaviour, even amongst experienced
> > screen reader users.
> I would like to get this discussion back to behaviour of people, and away
> from behaviour of browsers (however interesting!). What strategies have
> people observed here by people using disabled technologies to deal with the
> web? Practical examples would be really useful, thanks.
> Peter
> ----
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