Hi Marvin and everyone else,

I have been doing some research into web site accessibility and I would be interested to know a little bit about your experiences of using a screen reader and also if there are any designers out there that have experience of designing for, or using a screen reader.

At the recent WSG meeting at the Australian museum I met a designer who had just spent days trying to design a site to make it usable by colour blind users. A much better solution may be for colour blind users to tweak the colours of their operating system so that everything on their computer displays correctly. This also means the user can fine tune the displayed colours to cater for their exact type of colour deficiency. I have heard of software that does this, but it does not seem to be that successful. I guess this is a similar concept to a screen reader that works at the level of the operating system rather than on a website by website basis. I would be interested to know of your experiences of using the web - are there some sites that work fine and others that are terrible? Can you tell if the designer has taken the time to consider screen readers? Are there lots of differences between different screen readers?

Your other point about free hosting eludes to another uncomfortable issue - whilst a lot of things on the web are cheap, they are not free. I guess that in many cases a screen reader compromises your use of the internet, possibly making you less likely to return revenue to the companies that are paying for everything to be online. Most people would love to make every website 100% accessible to everyone. However, if it costs a lot of time and money, but returns very little revenue from the small number of users with screen readers, then why should companies bother? In effect this is asking the majority of people without screen readers to subsidise the users with screen readers. Maybe this is the best thing to do, but I think we would all benefit from some discussion on the issue.

I should probably mention that I am primarily a flex/flash developer creating very visual sites that I doubt would work at all with a screen reader. But unlike every flash/flex developer I have met, I am very interested in accessibility, SEO, and standards.




Andrew Stewart

    London :: +44(0)7900 245 789
    Sydney :: +61(0)416 607 113

www.universalsprout.com :: websites that sprout

On 25 Jun 2009, at 16:56, Marvin Hunkin wrote:

looking for a free web hosting account that can handle side scripting, able to use such technologies as visual web developer, sql server, visualbasic,
java script,etc.
i am in devonport, tasmania, australia.
i do not have a credit card, so a paid account is out of the question.
i am a blind web site designer, using the jaws for windows screen reader
from http://www.freedomscientific.com
so if any one can help out and recommend a good one which also has plenty of
large space.
and using windows vista, let me know.
cheers Marvin.
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