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Wedgy
11-04-2005, 05:12 AM
I was wondering if there was a freeware program/browser that does what a blind person's computer does, so you could test the functionality of your website?

Or perhaps also a clear detailed set of guidelines for appropriate use of ALT messages. I want to be helpful, not just pass W3C code checkers.

Twey
11-04-2005, 06:05 AM
See Jaws (http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/s2s/latest/jaws1/home/index.shtml) for Firefox. Alt messages should aim to replace images. If the image is purely decorative, you don't need them, and can safely use an empty alt to validate. If it's a bullet-point near a link (see the images next to the links at the top of a phpBB/subSilver forum), you could use something like "o " or "=> ". phpBB uses the link text as an alt for the images, which I disagree with because it looks odd in text-mode browsers (e.g. FAQFAQ SearchSearch). If it contains text, the alt must also contain that text.

Wedgy
11-04-2005, 08:19 PM
Here is an interesting case:

You have a graphic which shows 'text' e.g., "X Q 2 L 5 V W".
The purpose is to stop webcrawlers and bots from entering your site
and sucking up your bandwidth.
Is there a way to have the ALT text formatted to 'sound out' the letters,
so that a blind person can still type them in and gain access to the sight?

mwinter
11-05-2005, 02:52 AM
I was wondering if there was a freeware program/browser that does what a blind person's computer does, so you could test the functionality of your website?You can Google for a lot of information, of course. The State of Illinois (bizarrely) has links (http://www.illinois.gov/iwas/assistiveTools/) to some useful sites regarding assistive technologies. Lynx (http://lynx.browser.org/) is a simple start. Opera (http://www.opera.com/) in text emulation mode, or using its Voice system, is another.


Or perhaps also a clear detailed set of guidelines for appropriate use of ALT messages.As Twey said, alternative text should be a replacement for an image. If you had to describe the content instead of showing it visually, what would you write?

For a treatise on the subject, read the Guidelines on ALT texts in IMG elements (http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/html/alt.html) article (and the links it contains), written by Jukka Korpela.


I want to be helpful, not just pass W3C code checkers.As you will probably read, validators and other automated tools can't really do much in the way of help you. In fact, some accessibility tools (like Bobby, for instance) can actually hinder your attempts because of their rigourous adherence to rules and misleading messages.

Mike

Wedgy
11-05-2005, 08:08 AM
Thank you to everyone who responded here.
I am following up your leads. Much to think about.

Thanks again! :)

Twey
11-05-2005, 02:32 PM
You have a graphic which shows 'text' e.g., "X Q 2 L 5 V W".
The purpose is to stop webcrawlers and bots from entering your site
and sucking up your bandwidth.
Is there a way to have the ALT text formatted to 'sound out' the letters,
so that a blind person can still type them in and gain access to the sight?
The common response to this situation is to have a link to a sound file on the page next to the image.

sleipner
11-10-2005, 03:46 PM
I understand what you're trying to say and why, my project at http://sc.maricopa.edu/boomerz/ is on a community college server (which is government sponsored) and therefore must include alt text on all images, especially since our target is older people from about 40 to 80 or so and may have that problem

I suggest putting the alt text in but pronouncing the characters the way you sound them out individually

Twey
11-10-2005, 08:00 PM
That's also an idea, but not as secure as using a sound file. It's also more accessible, however.

Wedgy
11-13-2005, 09:28 AM
This is great stuff. Thanks again.

The impression I get is that programs that 'sound out' written statements in the ALT field have typical problems with clarity, and you can use literal phonetics to correct for poor reproduction of odd spelled words. Is this essentially right?

Twey
11-13-2005, 10:20 AM
True, yes.

sleipner
11-15-2005, 06:35 PM
exactly, it does take a deal of experimentation, but you can get it to pronounce it right

btw you can probably test the phonetic pronunciation by typing it in MS-Sam text-to-speech

Twey
11-15-2005, 07:07 PM
Or Festival (http://www.cstr.ed.ac.uk/projects/festival/).