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Sing Out! vs. the blind

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Joe Offer 30 Jun 09 - 02:42 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 30 Jun 09 - 03:34 AM
Jack Campin 30 Jun 09 - 06:50 AM
SINSULL 30 Jun 09 - 08:25 AM
Jack Campin 30 Jun 09 - 08:37 AM
Joe Offer 01 Jul 09 - 01:45 AM
Jack Campin 01 Jul 09 - 02:58 AM
Acorn4 01 Jul 09 - 03:16 AM
Stefan Wirz 01 Jul 09 - 03:45 AM
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Subject: RE: Sing Out! vs. the blind
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 02:42 AM

Click here to see the PDF newsletters of the women's center where I volunteer. My Adobe Reader is version 9, the latest edition (and it's free). If you go to "View" on the menu bar, you'll find a "read out loud" option. Try it - you'll find it works very well.

On Control Panel in Windows Vista, there's an "Ease of Access Center" which allows you to activate Microsoft Narrator, which will read what's on your screen out loud.


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Subject: RE: Sing Out! vs. the blind
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 03:34 AM

'I suppose somebody should have responded long ago to the allegations from Jack Campin about the production of the magazine in PDF format causing problems with accessibility.'

And I did Joe. I pointed out the 'Read Out Loud' feature (which in my opinion works quite well) early in this thread.

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Subject: RE: Sing Out! vs. the blind
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 06:50 AM

The accessibility statement on the Sing Out! site now mentions RTF, not PDF. There is quite a difference. PDF is a "container" format - it is quite possible to create a PDF file which contains only an embedded graphic, which no screen reader has a prayer of working with (and I've seen that done by folk festival publicity agents).

RTF is better, but can still be screwed up so a screen reader can't handle it - it's not an open standard so there can be all sorts of incompatibilities. You can only know if you've got it right by actually testing it, which from the accessibility statement on the Sing Out! site, it seems they have not done.

I haven't seen the magazine for a long time. I'm inferring Sing Out!'s attitude to the blind from what I see on their website, which is about as inaccessible as it possible to get. Greg may well have a bug up his ass, but that website represents a determined effort to prove him right.

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Subject: RE: Sing Out! vs. the blind
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 08:25 AM

Have you made it your mission to "out" every website on the internet that is not "accessible" to the blind or anyone else? I can point you to hundreds. Why "Sing Out" only?
Why not admit that you fell for "Greg's" flaming and let it go?

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Subject: RE: Sing Out! vs. the blind
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 08:37 AM

The crappiness of Sing Out!'s website had been mentioned here before. Greg's post simply reminded me to back and look at it again to see if they'd responded to the criticisms they got then. They hadn't.

I have tried to get something done about several other sites that were coded with similar arrogance and inconsiderateness. It's not in the least difficult to make a site accessible if you actually WANT to do it.

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Subject: RE: Sing Out! vs. the blind
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 01:45 AM

Well, now I'm interested. I learned how to use Adobe reader to read PDF files out loud, but what's the process for reading *.rtf and *.doc files? I turned on Microsoft Narrator and got it to read the links and tabs and buttons on my page, but I haven't figurted out how to get it (or somehting else) to read text out loud.
What could a blind person use to read The Sing Out! Website?

And Jack, what is it that makes said Website "crappy," and what could normal people do to make it better and more accessible, without spending huge sums of money?

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Subject: RE: Sing Out! vs. the blind
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 02:58 AM

You can read RTF using Microsoft Word or anything more-or-less compatible with it - OpenOffice, AppleWorks, whatever. The Apple stuff has built-in text-to-speech and the Windows stuff interworks with good, if expensive, text-to-speech add-ons. Usually. Microsoft change the RTF spec every so often and you can get bitten by version incompatibilities. Greg has now posted on Usenet saying he's happy with the RTF form of the magazine, so it looks like that's sorted.

An RTF reader doesn't help a lot with websites.

The Sing Out! website navigation is all done by Javascript mouseovers. If you can't see what your cursor is pointing at, you don't have any idea where clicking will take you.

Ordinary HTML links, either from speakable text items or from images with ALT tags describing their content, can be created with any text editor, including any freeware one. I use BBEdit Lite (freeware for MacOS 9), which has some extra utilities to help with this (like the Mudcat blickifier but easier and more wide-ranging), but you don't actually need that much for such a small site as Sing Out!.

What I think has happened is that whoever did Sing Out!'s pages is using a website-creation package that only does Javascript navigation, and that's all the web"master" knows how to use. The "master" probably can't read the code the package has created, let alone edit it.

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Subject: RE: Sing Out! vs. the blind
From: Acorn4
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 03:16 AM

The British Computer Association of the Blind have done quite a lot of work on this. Might be worth getting in touch:-

British Computer Association of the Blind

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Subject: RE: Sing Out! vs. the blind
From: Stefan Wirz
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 03:45 AM

Oh Glory, how happy I am ...
... only using good old html to build my discographies (and one tiny little javascript to automatically load the navigation frame at the top)
Is there anything I can do to further improve my pages for the blind ?

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