Making Wikipedia more accessible to the blind

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Note: Much of this discussion is pretty old in that it refers to older versions of Wikipedia. On the other hand, many of the issues remain unresolved.


This was cut from HomePage/Talk:


This was cut from the HomePage:

You may want to consider that this format below (with numbers is the only solution I have been able to find to make this wiki text field intelligible while navigating it. Otherwise, it is not sufficiently chunked so as to help a blind user navigate through the portions of subjects. If you do not want the numbers there, and you only want the double spaces between the chunked subjects, I suggest that you design the text field to work like that of a mainstream word processor. Such mainstream word processors somehow allow blind software to recognize a double space, allowing the blind user to use the paragraph keystroke (control + down arrow), to easily skip through the chunked links. This suggestion is in accordance with WW3 guidelines and those of the National Federation of the Blind. Thanks, keep it up.


Thanks for finally clearing up why you kept changing the HomePage. It's good to know you actually had a good reason for doing so! I've created this /Talk page for discussion of issues about the HomePage.

I have given headings to each section. I don't think the numbers make any sense from a semantic point of view. I.e., they might make things a little more accessible for a blind person, but they actually make the page slightly more puzzling to the vast majority of the people who view the page. (What, they will ask, are the numbers for?)

--Larry Sanger---- With all due respect, I don't think you have the slightest idea what a blind user experiences using this site. Ever use a voice-enabled browser with your eyes closed or at least not looking at the screen???? I can refer you to a free one-nah-forget that.... RoseParks


Speaking of which, someone should probably go through some of the more potentially confusing pages and make sure they are potentially navigable. How do things like Biology or Countries of the World stack up?---- Frankly, it is a little late to start with another browswer-but, yes I have one. I have no idea what it will make of the empty links, i.e. "?" and the astericks and pound signs for formatting. On Biology, I do know that a main navigation should be on the top, or, second choice, on the bottom, clearly delineated. This might ruin your design. Then again ,maybe it should be redesigned. The best examples of accessible navigation are the WW3 consortium's Accessibility Guidelines pages, themselves. Also there is a program at www.cast.org called Bobby, where you put your URL in, and they check it for accessibility. Unfortunately, there are many results in the error report that tell you to check your code yourself...:-).Wiki formatting is not what a voice-enabled browser is written to expect.


There are actually 2 separate issues: 1). Can a say, blind, user use this Wiki? 2). Can a say, blind, writer, contribute to this Wiki? When you think how we all learn new tricks by seeing some new type of code or format on a page, and hit "edit this page" to see the original entry and mentally compare it with the result..I think you can answer the question of how useful this is to a visually impaired person, yourself. How do they mentally bookmark that new code, so they can return to it. I will try to do check those pages with another browesr tomorrow. RoseParks---- I have checked the Biology page using the WeMedia voice enabled browser. It is hard to descriibe this. The links like biology huh which have a question mark at the end, read as links "?" only, which in fact results in no voice. Also, as I suspected the navigation on the right is accessible last. I thought this placement would be a problem. This browser is free from www.wemedia.com if you sign up as a member- no fee. Then you can download it. I believe it is only available for IE.

RoseParks----

The Countries of the World Page again, speaks numberous "?" links which result in no voice. Just link number, say, 15 reads "no voice." Further the formatting, i.e. the cities as part of the countries is entirely lost as well as the countries as part of the Continents. This is also what I suspected. You would have to put code in here to explain like:


North America the countries included in the North American Continent are:

What can we all do.
Put links at the end of sentences on the administrative pages like, the Home Page.
Incorrect:


See Wikipedia News to get the latest breaking informations on new additions to wikipedia, new formating rules, new contributors.


Correct:


To get the latest breaking informations on new additions to wikipedia, new formating rules, new contributors, see Wikipedia News.

In the first case by the time a blind user decides to click on this link, he has passed it. All screen readers work in a linear fashion. To move to a different mode in a screen reader, that will highlight links only, may be a not small effort. Note: I have corrected the links on the Home Page and I am not even sure anyone even noticed.


See also: Wikipedia accessibility