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RE: [xml-dev] Re: XML Accessibility Guidelines

I've read the abstract and agree that it isn't particularly helpful. I'm
registered blind and personally see XML as potentially the doorway to a new
more accessible world. Blind and partially sighted people have many problems
accessing all forms of applications and on all types of operating system
which, as people on the list have mentioned, has nothing to do with XML
itself. Various software based speach/screen enlargement packages can be
used with various operating systems together with dedicated hardware such as
braille displays to enable us to use computers efficiently. Unfortunately,
the IT industry haven't seen this as such a big issue and software was
developed that cannot, even with the access software, be used by visually
impared people. This is changing following several changes in US law.
Nevertheless many applications are still developed which cannot be used by
the visually impared.

I see (if you pardon the ponne) a future where applications using XML
can/could be easily modified to present themselves in a more accessible
manner to facilitate the use access technology to render the application
appropriately or even to provide the mechanism by which the application can
be accessed directly. A couple of examples. I can use web pages which
utilize lots of gifs as links without providing alt text - bad design as far
as I'm concerned but there's a lot of that around! I wrote a little JSP page
which used JTidy to convert the HTML to XHTML and then used an XLST to
replace image tags with the name of the source file which sometimes gives an
idea of where the links go. Another example could be to present the
application using speach via VoiceXML. Obviously there's a bit of work needs
to be done but hopefully this motivates my point.

In short XML itself will not help us but by its nature and infrastructure
can be presented in a more accessible way while people who have sight can
still use a nasty GUI thing. 

Hope this helps and feel free to ask if you have any questions or thoughts. 


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