Recently, quite a few questions surrounding technology for the visually impared have dropped into the Ask Slashdot in-box and I'd like to take the time to share these questions with you. Please read on for more.
Gaming Accessibility Recommendations?
openSoar asks: "I work for a company that makes and runs a virtual online world called SecondLife. One of the most inspirational stories I've heard recently has been about a group of people with extreme physical challenges and limitations who are using our software to great effect including (to quote from the original forum post) - 'the chance to be on an equal playing field for once, to not have to have folks get past what they look or sound like... to be warmly received... to play and have fun the way their peers do.' - I want to make things even better and provide a broad range of accessibility features and options. Time constraints mean I can't tackle everything so I'm trying to hit the really useful ones first. Of course, we're going to ask the users what they think but I figured that the folk here would also have some great ideas and suggestions."
Blind Friendly Open Source Software?
scubacuda asks: "A friend of mine is blind, yet he effortlessly navigates through his Windows XP box (installing programs, buying stuff on eBay, reading web-pages, etc) using JAWS. When I asked him what open source resources were available for him, I was surprised to hear him say, 'Almost nothing.' Is this true? Are we just not looking at the right places, or do blind-friendly resources tend to be Microsoft-centric? I tried to get him to switch over to Firefox, but he says that it doesn't work as well with JAWS as IE does."
MP3 Players for the Visually Impaired?
holden caufield asks: "As the geek-in-residence for my circle of friends, I've been asked the 'Which MP3 player should I buy?' question repeatedly, and I'm yet to offer an answer to them that doesn't rhyme with 'iPod'. Now I've been asked this very same question from a good friend who is blind (only *very* limited vision in one eye), and I'm thinking the iPod is still the way to go? Can anyone tell me their visually impaired experiences with MP3 players? Keep in mind, I don't mean 'can you now use it without looking at it?', since the learning curve would have been flattened for you by being able to study it originally. Any suggestions?
A few reasons why I think the iPod will work for him:
And now the constraints on the software side:
- Simple user interface
- Cursor changes can be heard with (or without) headphones on
- Bright back-lighting may be helpful for him.
- He uses a screen reader (JAWS for Windows), so compatibility with that is possibly more important than nearly any other feature.
- He is looking for an MP3 player. Ogg and FLAC compatibility is not a consideration, and will not weigh in favor of any device.
- Sorry, but switching to Linux is not an option, however open-source that is Win32-compatible is fine."