I saw this way of blowing off steam on another blog, and I loved it, so I’m copying it. Hope she doesn’t mind 😉
For the most part I am able to use your blog, and I am very grateful for that. However, there are simple things you could do to make life a little easier for screen reader users. You see, I start at the top of a page and scroll down, encountering every ltitle link I have to run across. I can navigate by headers, and when reading a blog, this works really well. I only wish it worked in the Dashboard a little better. Also, when I want to get to my dashboard either from viewing my blog or anothers, I have to interact with your table at the top of the screen to find the link back to the dashboard, which doesn’t even say Dashboard, it says Blogger Home. This is fine now, but it was confusing when I first started using Blogger. Just these little changes would make such a big difference, and I am sure there are more suggestions I am spacing on right now. Why can’t Google employ a few testers, or talk to the folks at webaim.org? I also would like to address your stupid CAPTCHA’s, but I will include my letter to the CAPTCHA people for your reference. Oh, except to say, that since I had a google account, I started this blog just fine. Now that I want to add another, you throw in a word verification. Whats the deal? Why do you want that with a second blog, when I am already logged in, you know who I am, and you know I am human? Not fair.
A somewhat happy screen reader user,
Dear CAPTCHA designers,
Seriously. Have YOU tried using your stupid word verifications? I used to hate these things when I could see, but holy cow, have YOU tried listening to your supposed accessible ones? I’m sorry, I shouldn’t lump you all together, because some CAPTCHA’s are accessible. I should have sent this specifically to Blogger developers and Twitter to name a few with crazy ones. Actually I think I heard that Twitter did something about it, but I haven’t checked.
Anyway, why must it sound like a record being played backwards with a really angry man shouting out unintelligable numbers? Oh, you should check out the one that mlb.com uses on their Allstar voting page. Its awesome. You click the link and a clear female voice reads the numbers, AND my cursor ends up in the right place to type the numbers. Part of the problem with the horrible ones is that you click the listen link, and the cursor doesn’t end up in the text edit box, so your screen reader talks over the garbling whie you’re trying to find the box.
And don’t tell me “well there are services you can use to interpret CAPTCHAs”. That is not a fix. So I want to leave a comment on a blog, and before I type the comment, I have to take a screenshot of the CAPTCHA and send it to a sighted person for interpretation. By the time I’ve done this, I’ve lost what I want to say, and its not so easy to do anyway. So no, I am sorry, that is not a fix. I just won’t leave comments or use a service with a CAPTCHA I can’t solve for myself. The whole point of everything I am doing is to be as independent as possible. I rely on the sighted to drive. And thats really all I’m willing to rely on them for, thanks.
Dear Apple Inc.,
This is the only nice letter I can think of right now. I love you. You include your screen reader, magnification and braille output software free in all your operating systems. You made it possible for me to save my screen reader settings to a flashdrive, so that if I encounter another Apple, I can upload my settings. When you upgrade your OS, I do not have to upgrade my screen reader, because it is included. I wonder how much money that will save me for the rest of my life? Oh, and I don’t know about Jaws, but Voiceover was pretty simple to teach myself, and your website is outstanding. And don’t even get me started on iTunes and talking iPods and even an accessible touch screen phone. Wow!..
I just love you, Apple. You really take assistive technology to a whole new level, and you don’t charge us extra for it.
And the voice of Alex! He doesn’t even compare to Windows voices. Alex sounds as close to human as I have ever heard a synthesized voice sound.
I just had to say thank you and I love you and I have no complaints!
A very happy customer.