Archive for November, 2006

change to US copyright law allows VIs to break DRM on E-books

November 29, 2006

This looks like good news although it is probably the case that is simply the law catching up with what most people are doing anyway. The change is that visually impaired people are now legitimately now aloud to circumvent the DRM systems on any E-books which do not incorporate screenreader or text to speach features. The difference would appear to be that previously this were only aloud on titles which did not exist in another accessible electronic format. Unsurprisingly The NFB it seems were behind the move, more interesting is that there were no objections to the proposal. Is the publishing industry waking up to the requirements of VI people? or is it easier to ignore the issue and leave the work in the hands of the reader than to tackle it at source. more info at http://www.copyright.gov/fedreg/2006/71fr68472.html item number 4. Lets hope this lays down a marker which the UK can follow.

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Google enhances(?) accessibility.

November 29, 2006

Take a look at search results on Google. Notice that as of today 15/11/2006, the link text of each result is now marked up as a header. Is this an advance in accessibility? Well certainly for users of some screenreaders it does mean that it is much faster to jump from result to result, but is improving the experience of users of a particular product (or products) really in the spirit of improved accessibility? or just a media friendly cheat. Headers are meant for structural mark-up, which I suggest this is not. On the face of it this may sound like a weak arguement, afterall for years we (the campainers) have been advocating the use of work arounds to improve the user experience. What concerns me is that in the absence of conformant assistive tech products individual designers are being forced to create their own solutions which are dependant on the features of products which they don’t as a rule know a great deal about, or where what they do know is based on a very narrow selection of the most market dominant products. What concerns me is where will it all end? because we the assistive tech user can be certain who will be the ones to lose out a couple of years down the line when we start to see solutions that conflict with each other or with our technology if we aren’t using the product which the designer had in mind when they did thedevelopment. What are Standards and guidance for if not to give us semantic solutions.

Starting a Blogg, the Tears and the cheers.

November 15, 2006

As you might imagine, or as you possibly discovered for yourself, deciding to “do” a Blogg is the easy part (no surprise). I expect that always having something interesting to say will be a bit more tricky, but I wasn’t quite prepared for was the complexity of actually signing up for and setting up the whole shabang. Or at least thats how it felt whenbattling with my screenreader of choice and Blogger.com – maybe they’re just having a bad day which would account for all the “page not found” errors after completing registration forms and slowness of Emails, but the audible capchure process was most unpleasant too. So I hit the search engines to look for an alternative and ended up here at WordPress. A completely different story. I’ve signed-up, fiddled around with settings and designs (all bee it that there’s more to do still obviously), and am already on my second post all within considerably less than half n hour. So the moral of the story, if you want an accessible Blogg – use WordPress not Blogger.

jumping on the band wagon.

November 15, 2006

So I’ve done it, I’m on the band wagon and have started this here Blogg. It’s so time consuming visiting all those other Websites, Discussion boards, and Bloggs out there to put people right that I’ve decided that the only thing to do is to simplify things and let you all come to me. So here it is, an insiders view on “accessibility” (whatever that is).