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Re: Screen Reader Survey Results


From: Noble,Stephen L.
Date: Jun 7, 2012 3:41PM

Yes, there is support for MathML in EPUB 3, and hopefully we'll see publishers using it. Technically, MathML is also supported in PDF (part of PDF/UA standard), but no editing tools bother to build in a means to easily get the MathML code into the document. That's another dead-end conversation I typically have with vendors of PDF editing tools...along the lines of "none of our customers have told us they want to do that."

--Steve Noble

From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [ <EMAIL REMOVED> ] on behalf of John E Brandt [ <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2012 5:03 PM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Screen Reader Survey Results

Apparently EPUB 3 has support for Math ML...but I am not surprised to hear
the comments from publishers.


John E. Brandt
Augusta, Maine, USA

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Noble,Stephen L.
Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2012 2:49 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Screen Reader Survey Results

I would like to suggest that future surveys include something about access
to non-literary text...primarily STEM content...especially mathematics. When
I talk to screen-reader vendors about the need to support access to STEM
content, especially content which contains Mathematical Markup Language
(MathML), I receive rather cool responses. Typically, it is something akin
to "we never hear from our customers" that users want to read such materials
or that they never hear feedback from people that have problems trying to
read math equations that aren't accessible. Therefore, it would very
valuable to document both current practice (i.e., the number of users who
read MathML content with screen-readers), as well as including inaccessible
mathematics (e.g., the typical use of inaccessible gifs to present math) as
one of the problematic items" in the list included in the survey.

--Steve Noble

[ <EMAIL REMOVED> ] on behalf of Andrews, David B (DEED)
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 3:29 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Screen Reader Survey Results

I think the survey is valuable, especially over a period of time. One of
the things that struck me was the number of persons who reported themselves
as expert or intermediate screen reader/computer users.

I think this means one of two things -- the survey responses aren't an
accurate reflection of the skill level in the general blindness community,
or that people think they are better than they are.

As some of you know, I run a bunch of blindness-related mailing lists. So,
I read questions, answers, discussions etc., each and every day -- hundreds
of messages. And ... more than 5 percent of the community are beginners.

I suspect that the cream of the crop, so to speak were the majority of
survey respondents. I say this as an observation -- not a criticism.


-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Jared Smith
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 2:21 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Screen Reader Survey Results

Tim, thank you so much for your thoughts. They are very valuable.

On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 12:49 PM, Tim Harshbarger wrote:
> However, I tend to think of it as more advisory than conclusive.

I don't think it's every been suggested that the surveys are conclusive. We
know the screen reader survey is not representative of all screen reader
users. We would love to do more in-depth research with controlled subjects
to analyze actual behaviors and preferences.
We just need someone to fund such an expensive and difficult research

> User surveys like this measure what people believe their behavior is and
not actually what their behavior is.

All surveys do this. Researching beyond perceived behavior is difficult. Of
bigger concern is that presenting perceived behavior as fact can be
detrimental to accessibility. If you ask users if they want a feature or
not, they'll almost always say they want it, though if every site provided
that feature it would probably make the web less accessible.

> From the survey, I get that the respondents definitely felt heading levels
were useful. I'm not sure that tells me how they find it useful. Does it
have to be h1, h2, h3?

These are things that are hard to get at in a survey. There were many
respondents that indicated in the comments that they had no idea what we
even meant by "headings levels" or "heading 1", so asking more specific
details would just cause more confusion for many respondents.

> Honestly, I saw some groups pushing a lot harder to get their members to
take the survey this year.

This is a concern that we have as well. We never intend it to be a
popularity contest, but it is in some ways. Enough so that there was one
respondent that took over 5 hours to complete the survey nearly
150 times so he could "better represent" his favorite screen reader and to
lodge his repeated complaints against Facebook accessibility (to be clear,
duplicate responses are NOT included in the survey results). At the same
time, we love that we're getting more respondents to the surveys which lends
more credibility to the results.


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