[guispeak] Fw: Macs and the blind

  • From: "Laura Eaves" <leaves1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "guispeak" <guispeak@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <nfb-talk@xxxxxxxxxx>, <Windows@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <BLIND-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 03:36:16 -0500

Here's something interesting from the gui-talk list -- enjoy!

----- Original Message ----- From: "Antonio Guimaraes" <brpenta5@xxxxxxx>
To: <gui-talk@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, December 13, 2004 2:30 AM
Subject: [gui-talk] Macs and the blind

I got this from another list. would anyone care to comment on this
VoiceOver? Does it mean the death of screen-readers as we know them? will it
really bring äccess to everyone"?

Introducing VoiceOver, the spoken interface for Mac OS X. The Universal
Access capabilities of Mac
OS X will soon be enhanced to provide a new way to access the Macintosh
through speech, audible cues and keyboard navigation. Talk to Me The
Access capabilities of Mac OS X provide equal access for everyone to the
power and simplicity of the Macintosh. Now they´re enhanced to include
a spoken interface for those with visual and learning disabilities.
VoiceOver is a fully integrated, built-in enhancement to the Mac OS X Aqua
user interface,
providing an additional and equal way to access the Macintosh. It reads
aloud the contents of documents such as Web pages, Mail messages and word
files. It provides a comprehensive audible description of your workspace
and all the activities taking place on your computer. And it includes a
rich set
of keyboard commands that allow you to navigate the Mac OS X interface and
interact with application and system controls. If you or someone you are
has visual or learning disabilities, you´ll appreciate how VoiceOver
enhances the rich set of Universal Access features in Mac OS X to ensure
equal access
for everyone. Not Bolted On Mac OS X VoiceOver delivers many of the
features found in traditional, add-on screen reader applications with one
difference - VoiceOver is completely integrated into Mac OS X, unlike
traditional screen reader applications that are designed as bolted-on
VoiceOver provides an unprecedented level of built-in accessibility for a
Desktop operating system. The advantages are tremendous: No separate
wide availability and one simple set of commands to learn and use. And,
because it´s part of the operating system, you get access to the latest
without delay. Easy to Learn and Use Since VoiceOver is built right into
the operating system, it works together with all of the key commands and
you already know. There are also additional keyboard commands to allow you
to direct and control VoiceOver. The keyboard commands remain the same no
which application you are using, so you can focus on the task at hand and
not the tool you are using. For those of you upgrading for the first time
Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X, you´ll find learning to use VoiceOver quite
transparent as you learn and explore the great new features of the Mac OS X
Complete Keyboard Navigation and Control To drive the spoken interface,
you´ll use the keyboard instead of the mouse. You can choose any combination
keyboard commands and shortcuts you prefer and can even take advantage of
Apple´s full keyboard access option. Full keyboard access extends your
to navigate to items such as the Dock, menu bar, window tool bars and
palettes. You can direct VoiceOver using a new feature called the
viewfinder, a powerful
tool that lets you control what is spoken and enables you to interact with
items on the screen using only your keyboard. You can press buttons, drag
enable and disable check boxes, select radio buttons, drag, scroll bars and
many other on-screen controls. User-adjustable Voices and Speech Rates You
can use a single voice for every spoken description or assign unique voices
to the six different types of information VoiceOver can provide. This helps
you distinguish by voice alone, whether you´re listening to commands,
content, item descriptions, item types, spoken menus or echoed text. You
can also
personalize each voice to your liking by adjusting its pitch, speech rate
and volume. You can adjust speech rate dynamically even while VoiceOver is
so you can increase the speed to skim large text documents very quickly or
slow it down to savor every detail. Enables Learning Through Exploration One
of the characteristics of Mac OS X is that you can learn it through
exploration - you don't have to read a manual. Similarly, you can learn
VoiceOver by
exploration and use it to explore your computer´s workspace. Items are
spoken as you navigate the interface and you can inspect the details of any
simply by pressing a key. Function keys F1 through F4 are preprogrammed as
orientation keys, providing you quick and easy access to descriptions about
where you are and what you´re doing. Even online help is spoken, so you can
solve problems on your own and learn new features at your own pace. There´s
also a spoken contextual menu system so you always know which commands are
available to you. Through VoiceOver menu, you can configure spoken interface
preferences, access commands, learn spoken interface keyboard shortcuts,
reference on-line help and much more. Universal Access Apple includes a
of accessibility features in Mac OS X referred to collectively as Universal
Access. These features enable those with vision, hearing and motor skills
to more easily use the Macintosh computer. These features, including
VoiceOver, are designed to work together and in combination to address the
needs of every user. Universal access features include zoom view,
grayscale, black on white (inverted display), sticky keys, mouse keys, slow
keys and
more. Promotes Collaboration The Apple spoken interface is designed to be
completely transparent, working the same way the Macintosh works today so
can collaborate seamlessly using the same computer with those who are
sighted. By using the same applications, in the same way, with the same
and the same commands, you can work together naturally with no artificial
barriers. In fact, keyboard controls have been added so you can interact
purely visual elements, enabling you to work with sighted users the way
they´re used to working. So, for example, you can scroll text, adjust
window splitters,
drag, scroll and resize windows. Compatible with a Variety of Applications
Apple is providing open, well-documented programming guidelines to
so they can more easily enhance the accessibility of their applications.
Many Mac OS X applications already provide some accessibility. Those that
follow Apple´s programming guidelines will deliver an even better
accessibility experience. Apple also welcomes your feedback on its spoken
interface technology
and asks you to send us your comments and suggestions.

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