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Re: best screen readers for browser testing


From: Holly Marie
Date: Jun 18, 2002 9:13AM

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Foliot - bytown internet"

| Since the goal of true accessibility is that it *shouldn't* matter
what user
| agent you are using, then the choice conceivably becomes easier... if
| are simply testing web sites for accessibility, any text to speech
| should suffice. Developers on a budget (aren't we all?) can even
download a
| FREE speech browser from Simply Web Talker
| While it lacks many of the bells and whistles of more expensive
programs, it
| does what it advertises it will do - render HTML documents to speech,
| and all.

Good info and thanks, which brings thoughts all back to the point, if we
test items on the least supportive device, then we should or should not
expect other users of other devices and their support to be the rules by
which to write web page markup? Meaning... Jaws, and others may have
better support for table reading, forms, javascript, etc... though we
cannot apply that as the common rule and really might be better off
going with the lowest common denominator regarding accessible content.

I have yet to see any good stats on what devices are being used by whom.
On which OS, with what browsers, and versions.

How many fully blind are accessing the web, how many with low vision...
how many with color vision differences, etc...
How many other populations are accessing the web, cognitive, hearing,
aging, etc...
What the projected changes may be? Or comparisons of these numbers over
a few time slots alongside the numbers of average users without special

And though those stats are not directly important to accessible content,
meaning we really all ought to design fully accessible pages across as
wide an audience as possible.... those stats are really very important
to present the case and issue to others designing or needing web sites.
They need to know there is a good size of visiting populations out there
that may be even more dependent on Internet content[commercial,
educational, informational] than the average user. An average user has
many other options for information, the web may be a very important
extra option for information of every kind for special users or even
homebound users, workers, or learners. And not everyone will have the
tools with all the bells and whistles. So it may be better to test pages
with the least?

We need to appeal to the corporations, small businesses, public
services, and educational groups. There are many that have no idea about
these levels of use at all.

| IBM Homepage Reader is a great program, and the browser has one of the
| implementations that I am aware of for LONGDESC. If the budget
allows, grab
| it, as testing across multiple user agents is regretably still one of
| things we as developers must do.

John, I do not have home page reader, yet, I am very curious how the
reader implements the LONDESC.
Exactly how does that work? From my understanding of this LONGDESC
attribute, it is to be coded with a URI/URL between the quotes, and by
some type of Magic[?} the user that needs this is transported to that
area or page for the long description or information.

In some ways, I WANT to know how this is to work for the non device

How does LONGDESC work for those that are able to see, and need a better
explanation of a chart or graph or any other item... map, schematic,
diagram, etc... Now we are talking about people outside that visual need
scenario, but may have other special needs or even, none at all. Maybe
this would be useful for many learning environments as an additional aid
or tool, or even for the normal public.

So, will LONGDESC be something that will work for all, and not just a
few, and exactly how is it to be implemented across all deliveries?


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