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


I could not agree more! In the last 3 months I have been forced to go
into the dark side of Windows because of a new job. I have both JAWS
and Windows-eyes and while I found windows eyes to be OK at some level
and JAWS to be unstable and combersome to use, I have not been able to
get on top of it on my own and have had to rely on sighted users to
give me a hand.

In contrast, with emacspeak I only had to get a sighted user to read
the documentation and help with the first initial install - once I had
emacspeak up and running, I have been able to work 100% independantly
with emacspeak - I never have to ask a sighted user to give me a hand
to get out of something I can't get out of myself etc. 

My opinion of menus is they are extremely over rated. I'll bet I can
navigate/operate my system using the command line and keyboard
short-cuts faster than anyone using menus and a mouse. I think mice in
particular have been a real con job - I often amaze people at how much
faster you can do things using short-cuts and keyborad keys over mice
and menus. In fact, some of the workers in my office are now spending
time memorizing windows short-cuts etc because they now see how much
easier and faster it is to use over the mouse and menus. Just wait
until I get my voice recognition stuff working!


Jason White writes:
> 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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Tim Cross
mailto: tcross@northnet.com.au
phone: +61 2 6772 5973
mobile: 0412 969193

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