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RE: [emacspeak The Complete Audio Desktop] Web Accessibility AndUsability: Comin...

I agree we need a challenge, but I would argue that rather than Nielsen, we
should challenge ourselves to bring the efficiency and effectiveness of
Emacspeak to more people.  After all, Nielsen's conclusions are
scientifically valid for probably 99% of all persons with disabilities
currently online.

How this should or can take place, I do not know. But I think we cannot
blame users for falling into the trap of inferior tools when they are not
aware of alternatives and when the alternatives are so difficult to find,
install, and learn.

I have been trying to figure out ways to make access to Emacs easier, and
have also thought about finding a way to fund a scientifically valid study
where Emacs is compared to more conventional tools, so I am glad to see
Raman bringing that idea up.  If anyone would like to be part of such a
study, or has suggestions of potential funding sources, etc, please contact
me directly.

Fernando Botelho

-----Original Message-----
From: Janina Sajka [mailto:janina@rednote.net] 
Sent: Friday, December 21, 2007 9:42 AM
To: T. V. Raman
Cc: emacspeak@cs.vassar.edu
Subject: Re: [emacspeak The Complete Audio Desktop] Web Accessibility
AndUsability: Comin...

You raise very valid points, Raman. Perhaps we might consider a challenge to
Nielsen. Perhaps we could point out that their presuppositions are unfair
and lead to unhelpful conclusions? As you point out, it's the task, not the
particular web site for that task, which matters. And, the performance of
users with minimal skills and inadequate tools is certainly a questionable


T. V. Raman writes:
> The Nielsen Norman Group has made available a detailed report on 
> accessibility, which includes the results of several usability tests
> --- see Going Beyond Alt Text. It's a very good read, and though its 
> conclusions might be depressing to people coming to this area from the 
> outside --- they should be no surprize to users who have been trying 
> to use the Web via spoken output over the last 10 years. From the 
> perspective of the Emacspeak user who lives in a specialized browsing 
> environment that is optimized for performing oft-repeated tasks, there 
> are several interesting take-aways from this report:
> - Though so-called Web Accessibility Standards have attempted to focus 
> on the behavior observed when using screenreaders with mainstream 
> browsers, that thread of work appears to be achieving little with 
> respect to the real metric of task completion. As technologists, we 
> would all do well to remember that users come to the Web, and Web 
> Access solutions not to use the browser but rather to complete one or 
> other task.
> - As described in Specialized Browsers and The Web The Way You Want 
> It, task-oriented access and specialized user-optimized web tools have 
> been around since the inception of the Web.
> - Though the Nielsen study asked users to carry out each of the given 
> tasks by going to a given Web site, it would be interesting to see how 
> such tasks work out in the Emacspeak environment. It's a given that an 
> emacspeak user trying to buy a music CD at an online store would run 
> into a brick wall fairly quickly (see, even online stores are made of 
> brick and mortar;-)). However, as an Emacspeak user I'd never do that 
> I'd either go to Amazon's highly efficient Amazon Accessible Store or 
> faster yet, type an appropriate query at Google and click on the 
> relevant Ad that sports a Google Checkout badge.
> - And more interestingly, it would be interesting to carry out a 
> follow-up user study to compare the rate of task completion as well as 
> observed efficiencies/inefficiencies between users of Emacspeak and 
> generic browser/screenreader combinations for tasks such as:
> - Play NPR news from the last hour.
> - Play your local NPR station.
> - Play BBC News from the last hour.
> - Skim the top stories from CNN.
> - Look up today's stock market numbers for the major indices.
> - And items too numerous to enumerate in this margin.
> --
> Posted By T. V. Raman to emacspeak The Complete Audio Desktop at
> 12/20/2007 02:49:00 PM

Janina Sajka,	Phone:	+1.202.595.7777;	sip:janina@a11y.org
Partner, Capital Accessibility LLC	http://CapitalAccessibility.Com

Marketing the Owasys 22C talking screenless cell phone in the U.S. and
Canada Learn more at http://ScreenlessPhone.Com

Chair, Open Accessibility	janina@a11y.org	
Linux Foundation		http://a11y.org

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