Squeak Accessibility for the blind
Thomas A Petersen
tpeterse at csc.com
Fri Dec 10 13:14:44 UTC 2004
Hannes, et al,
Excellent Ideas. I happen to know that adding accessibility
features can trash an otherwise perfect system. So, I would
advise caution as you procede. I'll comment in your message
below. Please note that the opinions expressed are my own
and don't necessarily represent those of anyone else.
>> I have used the speaker class as a debugging aid to tell me when I’ve
>> passed though certain methods.
>Cool idea. And an argument that Squeak might be adapted for blind users.
>Though this would mean a considerable effort.
>The first thing would probably be to create 'AudioBrowsers', i.e.
>Browsers which use the SystemNavigation but instead of tell the user
>where the focus is and which other options he might choose.
I would leave this one to third party tools like JAWS.
They have a tool that can read you most bitmap text and
work around other issues like menus and baloon help.
What I do is insert Speaker child say: 'Doing Something'. in one or
two methods along a critical path to ensure that an irregular
code path is taken. For example, I was tinkering with a life
generation algorithm that created fish and sharks in a
simulation similar to the old WATOR program described
in Scientific American about twenty years ago. I had it
speak 'New Fish' or 'New Shark' every time a creature was
generated. I quickly found out that the sharks were too
prolithic and had to adjust some algorithms accordingly.
>> A better sounding speaker class. I’m not well versed in the speech
>> Squeak is using and just need to find the time to dig into it.
>The Klatt synthesizer as such is actually quite good. Perhaps it is a
>question of adapting the parameters.
Actually, I have been hopelessly spoiled by the AT&T Natural Voices
that can be used with ReadPlease and other clipboard based speach
systems on Windows. Asking Squeak to programatically copy to the
clipboard allows me to take some advantage of this external aiding
technology without a lot of deep hacking. It also takes a
considerable load off of the Squeak VM's CPU consumption.
>> A more robust web browser and mail client. By this I mean, better
>> for the more complex web pages.
>For a blind user the web browser has to be adapted anyhow. The basic
>functions are there in Celeste
Actually, I was thinking about the more complex HTML and style sheet
Anyway, I want to thank you for your excellent work in the community.
You and many others make Squeak a wonderful place to think.
Thanks much from
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