[bct] Re: Fw: Feed Readers

  • From: "Lynnette" <superlynne@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 15 Oct 2005 06:44:42 -0400

You're very welcome.
I really enjoy receiving and distributing information.

Have a great weekend.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Larry Skutchan 
  To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2005 5:29 AM
  Subject: [bct] Re: Fw: Feed Readers

  Thanks for the article, Lynnette.  

    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: Lynnette 
    To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
    Sent: Friday, October 14, 2005 5:00 PM
    Subject: [bct] Fw: Feed Readers

    Here's a timely, interesting, informative article.

    Subject: Feed Readers: Not Satisfying the Appetites of BlindComputer Users
    U.S. Newswire
    Wednesday, October 12, 2005
    Feed Readers: Not Satisfying the Appetites of Blind Computer Users
    AFB Evaluates One of the Hottest Trends in Internet Technology
    NEW YORK, Oct. 12 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Getting news and blog updates through
    RSS (Really Simple
    Syndication) feeds is all the rage in the online world. But how easy is it
    for people with vision loss to use feed reader technology-programs that 
check for, download, and organize new content, delivered through RSS, from 
blogs and news sites? According to a new report from the American Foundation 
for the Blind (AFB) finding accessible RSS readers can be challenging for 
computer users
    with vision loss.
    "The blogosphere is still foreign to many web users, but it can be 
particularly confusing for blind computer users because several of the blogging 
sites and tools are inaccessible," said Jay Leventhal, editor of 
AccessWorld(r), AFB's online technology magazine. "AFB
    hopes to help people with vision loss navigate this world with ease by 
identifying screen
    reader-friendly services and by working with bloggers and technology 
companies to ensure their sites can be used by everyone."
    Using a JAWS screen reader -- an assistive technology product that reads the
    text and images on a computer screen -- AFB evaluated five popular RSS 
readers: Bloglines, Feedster, NewsGator, FeedDemon and My Yahoo!.
    Of the five sites reviewed, AFB found Bloglines and NewsGator to be the most
    screen reader-friendly. Overall, AFB found the Bloglines interface 
intuitive and the site well
    labeled and screen reader-friendly. Users can create an account without 
encountering a
    captcha -- those abstract renderings of random characters that ask users to 
retype the word they see (these images make it impossible for blind computer 
users to sign up for user accounts because captcha images cannot be read by 
screen readers). Bloglines also makes it easy to manage account preferences and 
set up personal blogs without sighted assistance. What's more is the site's 
feed reader software called the "Notifier" allows users to activate an auditory 
alarm that indicates when new content has been
    In addition, AFB also found NewsGator to be usable for people with vision 
loss. The
    service provides a simple and easy-to- understand interface, with brief 
explanations of site
    features when they are implemented for the first time. Signing up for an 
account is also accessible and like Bloglines, the service does not require 
users to confront a captcha.
    While Evaluating the Five Feed Reader Services, AFB Encountered the 
Following Accessibility Problems:  -- The most serious accessibility issue 
around blog-hosting services was the inability to create user accounts. This is 
due to automated pictorial verification-also known as a captcha or the "vision 
test." -- There is a lack of comprehensive how-to information aimed at novice 
bloggers and most tutorials assume users are able to access and see the 
instructional diagrams, applications, and web pages.
    -- RSS readers are often difficult to work with. Some of the more serious 
    included inaccessible installation procedures, menu bars that were 
difficult to
    navigate, and the inability to view the list of a user's own subscriptions. 
-- On almost all the sites, evaluators found improperly labeled links, radio 
buttons, and edit fields; inaccessible combo-boxes; automatically scrolling 
lists of links; or a non-intuitive interface. All of these things make it 
difficult for screen reader users to navigate a web site.
    The good news is that making a web site accessible is easy. With a few 
simple changes
    in web page design -- like properly labeling forms when building web 
interfaces and
    providing descriptive alt text for graphics -- it is possible to make these 
Internet tools
    user-friendly to the millions of
    computer users with vision loss worldwide. For a full copy of AFB's report 
on RSS, visit

    For tips on how to make blogs and web sites accessible to people with vision

    For a copy of AFB's May 2005 report on the accessibility of blogging, visit

    The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that
    possibilities for
    people with vision loss.
    Contact: Adrianna Montague-Gray of the American Foundation for the Blind,

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