Georgie Sydnor likes having a computer program that will read to her the words on the screen and reply to her keystrokes. On the other hand, she’s not a fan of the way the female voice responds to her attempts to navigate a tricky task.
Knowbility is an organization that advocates for technology that allows blind, deaf and otherwise disabled people to use the net. Knowbility’s Sharron Rush and Desiree Sturdevant talk about the challenges they face in raising awareness and changing the laws surrounding online usability.
A former model who is now chronically ill and struggles just to shower says the people she has met online have become her family. A quadriplegic man uses the Web to share tips on which places have the best wheelchair access, and a woman with multiple sclerosis says her regular Friday night online chats are her lifeline.
Four universities have agreed the will not purchase, recommend or promote use of the Kindle DX, or any other dedicated electronic book reader, unless the devices are fully accessible to blind students, according to the US Department of Justice.
AT 4 O’CLOCK each morning, Laura J. Sloate begins her daily reading. She calls a phone service that reads newspapers aloud in a synthetic voice, and she listens to The Wall Street Journal at 300 words a minute, which is nearly twice the average pace of speech. Later, an assistant reads The Financial Times to her while she uses her computer’s text-to-speech system to play The Economist aloud. She devotes one ear to the paper and the other to the magazine.