Using graphical interfaces as a blind user, and a little wish (Re: pulseaudio and speech: performance issues)
speechd at knopper.net
Fri Jan 8 03:29:56 CET 2010
On Thu, Jan 07, 2010 at 12:51:55PM -0700, Steve Holmes wrote:
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> Due to the length of the previous message on this thread, I felt it
> easier to not include it here.
I'm shortening your mail as well down to the part that I need to
> In the past, I've used elinks quite
> a bit but more and more lately, I find many websites merely unusable
> with text browsers.
elinks is not a text(only) browser. With the right compile options, it
reach any form field by seleting its name from a list.
> Firefox plus Orca navigate these same sites quite
> well. What makes these work so well and efficiently with Orca is
> "Structural navigation." We can take full advantage of a site that
> has good HTML markup in it like headings and tables and other form
> controls. If I want to get to the second table in a website, I merely
> hit the letter 't' twice and boom, I'm on the second table. There is
> no way to do this in elinks.
That's right, elinks lacks of some essential structural navigation
support, but some existing functions are just lesser known than they
So far, we hava managed to get most pages working in firefox also
working in elinks. I think the problem you mention is related to the
fact that commercial websites tend to get more and more overloaded with
graphical and animated content, also flash.
Btw, what is your approach to flash-only websites? I'm still hoping for
a flash-successor one day that has an accessible frontend.
> With text browsers, there is no
> structural navigation other than numbered links.
Depends on your settings. My elinks displays meta-information about form
fields (textinput, textarea, submit, ...) additionally to the link
numbers, for example. Still, there is a lot of improvement possible,
especially for more advanced users.
> If I come up on a
> site with twenty links in its navigation banner, I have to get past
> all those links before I can start reading any text at all. Also,
> with many modern sites. So I'm to the point I use Firefox for all my
> web needs today.
Choice is a good thing, no doubt some websites are IE or
firefox-"optimized" and don'r work well with other browsers. For some
websites, it is possible to select a more barrier-free version under a
different address (for example the WAP version vs. the mainstream
> I also like moving around in the file browser (Nautilus) for mass
> renaming and movement of files. The text equivelants like Midnight
> Commander work OK but I never found them to be quite as efficient plus
> the text screen readers like Speakup are difficult to work with when
> trying to read isolated parts of the screen. This is where Xwindows
> and MS Windows screen readers do come through - they can read the
> controls of interest and not anything else unless requested to do so.
Right, but some of these controls are not even necessary in a
console-based version, such as "scrollbars" or icons. For my own work,
I found nothing yet as efficient as the bash shell, but for beginners
who would first have to learn commands or all the keystrokes for
operating a program, different interfaces are more efficient until they
extend their computer skills. So my proposal is NOT killing the
graphical interface, but rather use the interface most suitable for a
specific task or workflow, which means, as you said below, picking the
most fitting from all worlds, and not letting someone else make this
decision for you.
> Most important in closing is with a good flexible linux system, one
> can achieve a reasonable balance using both console and graphical
> applications. And of course, there is no "one size fits all" solution
Exactly, yet the fact that some vendors propose their (only) interface
as "the one solution that fits all" is annoying.
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