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  1. #1
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    Browsers for the blind

    Hi, does anyone know which is the 'industry standard' speech browser for those who are blind. I think it's important I start checking my work in this kind of browser. If possible I would like one for a mac and pc. Thanks

  2. #2
    Matt Williams revsorg's Avatar
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    I believe that Jaws is the standard screen reader.

    However, the reason for designing standards compliant websites is that these are the standards that alternative browsers like screen readers are designed to conform to. If you have accomodated web standards and thought about targeting your website content for everyone who visits your website then you are maximising the value of your website for your audience, and blind people are just some of the people who will benefit from your approach.
    work: revs | ecru
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  3. #3
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by revs_org
    I believe that Jaws is the standard screen reader.
    a bit of a sweeping comment...there are other contenders with quite a large market share. WindowsEyes and Dolphin Supernova, for instance. On the linux front, EmacSpeak seems to still be where it's at. On Mac (pre OS-X), OutSpoken. Next generation OS-X will feature built-in screenreading capabilities.
    Then there's the oddball ones, the overly simplified "speech browsers" (as opposed to full-on screenreaders, which handle the entire interaction with the OS, and not just web browsing) like IBM HomePageReader (HPR) and pwWebSpeak.

    as with "normal" browsers, i'd advise against trying to design for any specific screenreader, but sticking with standards (unless it completely breaks apart one of the major ones, like Supernova, in which case it may be worth adding subtle workarounds to try and fix the problem...much in the same way that we try to use clean xhtml/css, but have to sometimes use workarounds in the css, or an extra div etc, to get IE to play ball)
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
    [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
    WaSP Accessibility Task Force Member
    splintered.co.uk | photographia.co.uk | redux.deviantart.com

  4. #4
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Is pwWebSpeak still going? I bought a copy once and then shortly after they sent me an email saying they were going to stop improving it.

  5. #5
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    don't think it's being developed anymore (heck, don't even think it's being used, to be honest)
    http://www.soundlinks.com/pwgen.htm
    If you are a visually impaired individual, or are using the software to evaluate sites for accessibility, you may use the software freely
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
    [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
    WaSP Accessibility Task Force Member
    splintered.co.uk | photographia.co.uk | redux.deviantart.com

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    http://www.alistapart.com/articles/wiwa has got a list of popular screen readers in it.
    Webcredible for usability & accessibility.
    Read all about the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)

  7. #7
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    you also have Bobby and Section 508

    those will help you as well.
    success is not by chance, it is by choice.

  8. #8
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    Thumbs up

    I think that's amazing to have a speaking web browser. I didn't know that until I read this thread. What will they think of next?

  9. #9
    SitePoint Member
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    i've never actually heard of one before

  10. #10
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    I refuse to use Bobby out of principle!

  11. #11
    SitePoint Member Colly's Avatar
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    Not being blind, I've only been using a fun free reader from http://mycyberbuddy.com/

    My favorite combination of active characters and voice is the character Candy from http://www.sexybuddy.com/
    ( http://www.sexybuddy.com/candy.html ) with her British accent (selection: Adult Female #1 British English (L&H))

    Microsoft seems to have almost, but not quite, forgotten or ignored it's Agent characters after killing Microsoft Bob, but at least a couple of places have found interesting uses for this still available feature of "msagents":
    http://www.microsoft.com/msagent/default.asp
    http://www.bellcraft.com/mash/
    http://www.msagentring.org/

  12. #12
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    Sahajin I refuse to validate my pages with Bobby Online, while he does not work 100% with the W3C/WAI guidelines.

    I recently launched and tested my new web site http://www.webnauts.net with Bobby, and I got the message:

    Priority 1 Accessibility

    This page does not meet the requirements for Bobby A Approved status. Below is a list of 1 Priority 1 accessibility error(s) found:

    1. Provide alternative text for all images. (12 instances)
    Lines 34, 35, 56, 57, 64, 65, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79

    Then I have contacted Bobby Support, and they told me that they have verified that this is a known issue with the older technology used with the free Bobby scan.

    The free service at bobby.watchfire.com is based on an older technology and has some known issues that they have not yet been able to resolve and that their current scanning technology has imporved significantly since then.

    Therefore I stick to CynthiaSays and WAVE.


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