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RE: Separating links

for

From: Philip Pawley
Date: Mar 26, 2002 12:06PM


Thank you for your detailed response. I have a few questions as a result of trying these things out on JAWS 4.0 and Home Page Reader 3.02.

>Home Page Reader: The default mode in Home Page Reader is to change the
>type of voice. A male-sounding voice reads the plain text and a
>female-sounding voice reads links. This is a more direct example of the
>question you asked. In Home Page Reader, two adjacent links will be read
>consecutively without a distinguishing sound in between them. For
>example, two links "products" and "help" might be misunderstood to be
>one links "products help". However, there are options in Home Page
>Reader that allow the user to differentiate between links. HPR can be
>set to play a sound (e.g. a chime) or say a word (e.g. "link") before
>the link. There are ways of configuring the program so that there is no
>confusion, but the default settings permit this kind of confusion.

In Home Page Reader 3.02:-
If there is a <p>, <br> or <div> in between, I hear no problem. No there is between adjacent links but who needs one anyway? There is a clear pause in between one link and the next.

I really can't see any need for any printable characters or the ensuing change of voice. These people are *blind*, not stupid. Also, we mustn't forget that blind people are more attentive to vocal nuances than we who rely so heavily on our eyes. So if I have no problem here, a blind person certainly isn't going to either.

Even with just a space between links, the problem is not *that bad*: although there is no pause in this case, there is still a voice inflection that tells the attentive listener that a new link is being read.

>Now you may be wondering what to do about this issue. In a list of
>links, you can place a character such as a vertical bar ( | ) in between
>links. You could also place periods, hyphens, or any other character
>there, but vertical bars are more common. Placing a line break ( <br> )
>or a new paragraph ( <p> ) does not meet the guideline because there are
>no printable characters in between links that way.

In view of the above, are we really talking about an older version of Home Page Reader? How old?

>And another important question: Is it necessary to do this nowadays? In
>lists of links I think it is usually a good idea, but perhaps not as
>necessary as it once may have been. I would personally put this
>guideline in the "recommended" category, but not necessarily in the
>"required" category, because modern screen readers have the potential to
>handle links well, even if they are not set up to do so in the default
>configuration.

I feel I need more information about older versions (or other programs that demonstrate these problems) before being able to make a judgement. Certainly, I see *no* problem with the most recent version of Home Page Reader.

>P.S. Bulleted lists are often read as if there is no break between list
>items, which can be confusing in Home Page Reader's default
>configuration (though, again, this can be modified). I really wish that
>screen readers read lists better, but they don't. They could say
>"bullet", "list item" or something, but they don't (in the default
>configuration). I personally would not recommend putting vertical bars
>or other characters at the end of bulleted list items--though it may
>help some screen reader users--because that seems to me to be going a
>bit too far. Still, I bring it up because that is one situation in which
>screen readers could be of more help to the user, but they aren't. It's
>a situation to at least be aware of.

Again, in version 3.02, I hear a clear pause.


<Quoted out of your original order>
>JAWS: When JAWS reads links, it prefaces the text with the work "link".
>For example, if the link text says "products", JAWS will say "link
>products". For the most part, there is no confusion here. There may be
>confusion, however, with the text following the link. For example, if
>the text right after the products link says "All around the world,
>people are wondering about...", then the user may not know whether the
>link is "products" or "products all around the world".

Again, I can see no problem with JAWS 4.0 in this connection. There is a clear pause between the link and the following text - as well as inflectional cues. I can't see how a blind person *could* be confused by this presentation.


To sum up:-

1. It seems to me that, the way the most recent versions of HPR and JAWS treat these situations, hearing "vertical bar" or some such in between links is just a nuisance: I can't see (or hear) that it serves any useful purpose whatever. I am open to being convinced otherwise, however.

2. Since I don't see any of these problems in the most recent versions, I assume we are talking about older versions.

3. Was it the previous versions that were at fault or is it an older problem? How far back are we looking?

Thanks,

--
Philip Pawley
Liverpool, UK
http://www.alexanderworks.org/
--





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