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RE: Assistive Device Behaviour Chart


From: Terence de Giere
Date: Aug 29, 2003 7:41AM

Mary Martinson wrote:

I think your chart will be helpful to a lot of people. I have one
question. I thought that pwWebSpeak has not been supported for a couple
of years. Is this something that people can still get their hands on?


pwWebSpeak stopped development in late 2000, so I suppose it should be
regulated to the category of legacy technology. It was a very good audio
browser, although it couldn't compete with screen readers as they
improved. In many respects it can still handle many structures in a web
page better than a screen reader. It is a good testing tool, and can
illustrate problems with pages relating to tables, images, and
scripting in a way that is different from screen readers, and give an
idea of why the W3C Level Triple-A accessibility compliance is sometimes

It had stellar support for LONGDESC, would read the title on ACRONYM and
ABBR, and would renumber nested ordered lists in a coherent way. It did
not support CSS or scripting, but had an internal user configurable
style sheet system. At one point it was built into a rather large cell
phone. Compared to screen readers, and the version of IBM HPR available
at that time, it was easier to use. There is no longer any technical
support for the product. If the company had had the resources to add
scripting, and CSS and a couple of other things which they were
planning, it would have become a superb audio browser, and probably
would outperform today's screen readers on web pages by a significant

pwWebSpeak was in the price range of IBM Home Page Reader, about US$150,
although web developers could get it for US$75 or so.

The following links might lead to more information if you try to email
the company; the Chief Technology Officer was Mark Hakkinen.


Terence de Giere

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