[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Blind software engineers, specifically UML

Rob Hill <robhill@es.co.nz> wrote:
> If we use graphical interfaces, whether Daniel's UML diagrams or a gui
> desktop, we have to attempt to contstruct the graphical interface in
> our minds, attempt to input our needs into it, and then figure out the
> visual rules for manipulating it.  This all involves wasted brain
> processing, as compared to a linear text interface.  
> Put another way, speech synthesis is basically a one-dimensional
> modality, as are text-based modalities, whereas GUI tools are
> two-dimensional modalities which do not fit well with speech. 

What a GUI screen reader provides is essentially a description of a visual
interface, not a parallel and equivalent spoken (or braille) interface.

T.V. Raman's papers on Emacspeak make the point very powerfully. Nowadays, of
course, GUI screen readers obtain their information from accessibility APIs
rather than from off-screen models, but this doesn't fundamentally change
their role.

In the case of the UML diagrams, the question to ask is not how to access the
diagrams, but how to access the underlying content that they represent.

The corresponding question is what textual format to use to write and
manipulate this information, then, if possible, convert it into a diagram for

Of course, it might happen that the diagrams are completely inessential to the
concepts being taught and that the same ideas could be conveyed differently,
in which case I would explore the other options and touch lightly on the
diagrams to make sure they are understood for purposes of having a shared
vocabulary with those who use them in software development. This is not my
area at all, so I'm not familiar with the details of UML.

As a final comment, I know Daniel is studying at Monash University, where
there is an active research project to make directed and undirected graphs
accessible, based on XML representations. I'm sure those involved in the
research would be able to contribute to the discussion.

To unsubscribe from the emacspeak list or change your address on the
emacspeak list send mail to "emacspeak-request@cs.vassar.edu" with a
subject of "unsubscribe" or "help".

If you have questions about this archive or had problems using it, please send mail to:

priestdo@cs.vassar.edu No Soliciting!

Emacspeak List Archive | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | Pre 1998

Emacspeak Files | Emacspeak Blog | Search the archive