[uf-discuss] Request for help from screen reader users from the BBC

Michael Smethurst Michael.Smethurst at bbc.co.uk
Tue May 27 01:47:41 PDT 2008

On 22/5/08 19:04, "Alasdair King" <alasdairking at gmail.com> wrote:

> Michael Smethurst wrote:
> "Of 4 users 2 had abbreviation expansion turned on."
> Ah, but what was your sample group? Were they, by any chance,
> highly-able professionals, probably with a business interest in web
> design and accessibility? Or were they little old ladies using Thunder
> or NVDA because those screenreaders are free?

The honest answer is I don't know. But I'm not sure why highly-able
professionals shouldn't be able to find out what's on telly tonight.

> Apparently JAWS has ABBR support off but ACRONYM on by default, which
> surprised me. Anyway, I have one user whose screenreader doesn't
> support ABBR (Thunder), and one who uses JAWS and leaves it off so
> far. I'll mail you details privately.

Thanks, any data appreciated

Abbreviation expansion is not our only problem. Screenreaders can also be
set up to read *all* title attributes - read tool tips and expand
abbreviations settings are orthogonal. With tool tips reading turned on
users get the full datetime read out when they float their mouse over the
abbreviation. Anecdotally this seems to be a far more common configuration
for partially sited users.
> Interestingly, I think your "what about people with cognitive problems
> getting confused?" point might be of more real-world importance, but
> since people cognitive problems are not as powerful politically they
> probably aren't a problem for you.

Don't want to sound prickly here but our intentions are strictly honourable.
We're not doing this to pick holes with microformats or tick bbc boxes or
avoid being sued. We're just a bunch of developers trying to do 'the right
thing'. Whether people with cognitive problems are politically powerful or
not if they can't use our site we're doing something wrong.

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