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Re: what can be done to make a blind user of linux comfortable iwth the computer system



Aruni writes:
 > Dear all, I've been using computers for last 5 years or so. I've used
 > windows for the most part of my work. It's a fact that windows is very user
 > friendly. The moment a new learner sits in front of the computer with
 > windows as the operating system, he does get some hang of the system if he
 > or she spends half an hour so as you are getting the sound output all the
 > time.

I suppose it depends what one means by "user friendly". I actually
think there are many undiscussed and dubious presuppositions in the
concept.

Last year I actually tried what you suggest: I sat in front of a
Windows-based system which had a screen reader installed, and tried to
use it for about an hour. I am a relatively experienced computer user
but I haven't worked under MS-Windows and have no intention of doing
so. Nevertheless, even though I had, on the occasion in question, a
braille reference card of screen reader commands, I wasn't able to use
the Windows system effectively. The menu system was cumbersome, slow
to use, and difficult to navigate. When I ran a telnet application for
which the screen reader had not been configured, the underlying
inaccessibility of the user interface became quickly apparent: the
screen reader started announcing meaningless graphic numbers instead
of  item labels.

A menu system is a good mnemonic but it also limits the user's choices
at any given point of the interaction: the only options available are
those listed in the menu (or those for which keyboard
 assignments have been provided). One can't express more complex
commands or combine existing commands in sophisticated ways. While
there is a place for menus, I have problems with any notion of "user
friendliness" which claims that it is sufficient merely to provide
everything in a menu system, which may be good for novices but does
not allow more flexible interactions with which the desired results
can be achieved quicker and in a less tedious manner.

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