[access-uk] Re: Google is more accessible from today

Hi,
at 10:17 17/11/2006 +0000, you wrote:
completely off topic IBM have apparently recently dropped HPR, or rather they are no longer developing it which probably amounts to the same thing.
That's a great shame. it is such a useful tool for many users, and web site developers alike. Wonder if an interested party may pick it up and run with it if that were possible and ethical?

Oh you purveyor of bad news, have a good week-end.

Joe









Adrian Higginbotham
Project manager, Standards

British Educational Communications and Technology Agency - BECTA
Tel: Direct dial 024 7679 7333 - Becta switchboard 02476-416994.

Email: Adrian.Higginbotham@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Web: <http://www.becta.org.uk/>http://www.becta.org.uk/
BECTA, Millburn Hill Road, Science Park, Coventry, CV4 7JJ



----------
From: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Graham Page
Sent: 16 November 2006 19:23
To: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [access-uk] Re: Google is more accessible from today

supernova does as well as does IBM homepage reader though this is not really a screenreader. I believe System Access does as well.

Regards

Graham
----- Original Message -----
From: <mailto:adrian.higginbotham@xxxxxxxxxxxx>Adrian Higginbotham
To: <mailto:access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2006 4:43 PM
Subject: [access-uk] Re: Google is more accessible from today

Good to hear that it is more than just one product that support navigation by heading, can anyone advance on JFW and W_E? of course if more sites like Google implement structural mark-up then other assistive technology venders may follow suit and this would be a positive thing. What worries me about the Search results as Headings as implemented by Google is not so much that they have done it, afterall so many people have already said how helpful it is, and I am indeed finding it is making my own life much easier, but rather that the Web development community at large may latch on to the idea that in order to make your Website accessible to screenreader users you should mark-up important information in an #h' tag. of course I might be too sinical and actually Google are leading the world in using structural mark-up something which many of us have been campaigning for for a long long time and not just on the Web. here's hoping that every document author follows their example. Let us however stay on their case and make sure that such a useful tag is used appropriately otherwise it will sease to be effective. My concerns are in the main based on some work I did with a consultant a year or so ago who had used a screenreader user to test some of their work. He had watched the individual navigating the Web for a while and concluded that in the main he did not use site navigation but rather tended to read content and follow links from there in, often following a very round about route to reach his destination. His particular solution to this was to enhance the access support in the content (good news) but to let loose with the role-over drop down menus and other javascript dependant objects within navigation structures purely because his experience was that this would have little impact. Yes that was one developer and one insidence but it does demonstrate the power behind messages such as "thanks for putting headers on every paragraph". developers like the rest of us look for easy solutions to difficult problems and I do feel that as a community we need to be cautious about over simplifying what are lets be honest complex issues.

Similar examples are evident as far back as the early days of the WAI guidance, particular ones which spring to mind are the RNIB advocating the use of the star symbol (*) as an alt tag for esthetic images rather than a null value. Viewing this on a scree in a training room the star looked rather like a letter "x" and for a year or two there was a spat of UK Websites with sporadic xs' here and there for no obvious reason.

So yes lets offer praise where praise is due but lets also temper it with a reminder that there is more work still to be done - has anyone for example had cause to use the Google audio capchure feature lately - excellent that they found a work around for the visual only capchure but I'm not sure that the numbers spoken over a garbled background noise is satisfactory, has anyone with hearing loss tried to use this ?


Adrian Higginbotham
Project manager, Standards
British Educational Communications and Technology Agency - BECTA
Tel: Direct dial 024 7679 7333 - Becta switchboard 02476-416994.
Email: Adrian.Higginbotham@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Web: <http://www.becta.org.uk/>http://www.becta.org.uk/
BECTA, Millburn Hill Road, Science Park, Coventry, CV4 7JJ



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From: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Tristram Llewellyn
Sent: 16 November 2006 11:15
To: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [access-uk] Re: Google is more accessible from today
"is it an improvement to accessibility or just a confluence by design or
miss-fortune of one feature within one popular screenreading product and
the semantics of a single website."

In the spirit of discussion I would argue clearly not, as more than one screen reader navigates by headings for the rather more academically erudite and upright purpose that the WAI WCAG may aprove of. Rigorous self contained interpretation of guidelines is one thing, and real life is another, and there is a danger in thinking that committees that make up WAI WCAG guidelines can do everything. There is, if you want to think of things that rigorously no such thing as technology independant accessibility, it is in fact a web of interconnected technologies and standards. Even assuming such bodies can think of or decide upon some other kind of structural mark up that would have this effect, a screen reader or for that matter another type of accessibility aid would still have to be coded for this if the guidelines are to remain as such rather than a top down literal standard that all websites should follow.

Regards.

Tristram Llewellyn
Sight and Sound Technology
Technical Support
<http://www.sightandsound.co.uk>www.sightandsound.co.uk




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