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What do screen readers really say?

Sent by Austin, Darrel on 11 September 2003 17:05


> One option that just occurred to me as I was reading this 
> thread is to have
> a stylesheet switcher (using server-side code) to turn on the "skip
> navigation" link, text-only titles, higher contrast colours 
> etc. 

> I'm not very experienced with accessibility issues - can 
> anyone see any
> flaws in this approach?

I've been pondering the same thing. I'm presently in the process of
redesigning my government agency's site and I really want to push for a
highly-accessible site.

I've been trying to think of ways to add the skip-navigation without it
being too obtrusive to the visual users, but yet still visible.

Your idea is quite interesting. I'm already going to implement a style
switcher to allow for type-size adjustment, so the 'accesible' link to swap
in a more accessible style sheet is a great idea IMHO. 

> Question: do any of the major screen readers send a 
> user-agent string when
> they hit a page? '
> If they do, and they're unique, why not sniff'em out and serve up a
> stylesheet that would style a "skip navigation" link 
> appropriately?

Browser sniffing is typically a bad idea. Unless someone is constantly
testing to make sure they're correctly sniffing each and every single
browser agent string, it's going to fail at some point. On top of that, many
agents can cloak themselves as different browsers. And, finally, a lot of
screen readers have nothing to do with the browser...they just read what the
browser sees.

-Darrel 
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