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What do screen readers really say?

Sent by John Colby on 13 September 2003 13:01

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At 10:39 13/09/2003 +0100, Russ wrote:

>Hi, newbie here and this is my first reply so if I've done it wrong - sorry.
>Reference the idea of having content above navigation for a screen reader.
>If you must have the navigation above the content in your text, you could
>use another link/jump at the top of your navigation to enable people to skip
>the navigation links. This could allow people to jump to the contents for
>instance. Also implement access keys and the obvious alt tags and it should
>make for a better screen reading experience - please tell me if I'm wide of
>the mark here.

I'm including the whole of Russ' message as he did not reply to all - Russ 
- you need to reply to all otherwise only the sender gets the message.

Now my reply.

Here's a test method that anyone can use:

Design your page

Display it in a browser with the stylesheets turned off, either through the 
browser settings or just comment out the whole links section in your header 
(may be easier as you're writing the pages and you don't have to fiddle 
with the settings for each browser you're testing on.

If it look OK and is logical then it may be OK.

Then imagine you're reading this page over the phone to someone and they 
have to understand it. If you can read the page directly without having to 
'explain' it, then you're on the way to making a good, accessible page that 
people without vision can understand.

Then look at the navigation links - imagine again that you're reading this 
over the phone etc etc - do THEY make sense?

If you can change the pages, then do so.

Look, I'm fortunate - I can pop along to the university library or to our 
disability advisors and use Jaws whenever I want. I'm just trying to 
emulate Jaws without the expense. Im also trying to teach this technique 
for students to understand.



John Colby
Lecturer, School of Computing, Faculty of Computing, Information and English
F328a Feeney Building,  University of Central England, Franchise Street
Perry Barr, Birmingham B42 2SU phone +44 (0)121 331 6937


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