WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Visitors Can Now Listen to Your Website


From: Michael D. Roush
Date: Jun 30, 2005 1:53PM

Austin, Darrel wrote:

>"Browsealoud is a Windows application designed for use with Internet
>Explorer 5.5, Netscape Navigator 7, and Mozilla 1.7.3 upwards."
>Great. Another accessibility product only accessible to Windows users. ;0)
Forgive me if I am missing something here....

Doesn't the very fact of this being a "Windows(-only) application"
violate the heart of Guideline 9 of the WAI... "Design for device
independence"? I don't see how paying for a service that will read a
site to a user if they are willing/able to install the plug-in makes a
site any more accessible than simply coding it properly and allowing the
user to have control over how they want the information presented to
them. I think the heart of US Rehab Act 508, subsection 1194.22(m)
implies that the plug-in that is linked-to should work on more than just
one operating system as well.

The very nature of downloading a plug-in makes it sound like a
visually-impaired user would be surfing around on the 'Net, until
finally coming to this site and being cued (how?) that they can download
a plug-in that will then read the site to them. How exactly will that
work in practice without any screen reader or assistive tech already on
the client machine that could handle reading the site? It strikes me a
little like my friend in San Jose telling me "Come to my house and I'll
give you a good set of directions how to get here."