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Re: [emacspeak The Complete Audio Desktop] Web Accessibility AndUsability: Comin...

well, the biggest hole in this space is that the blind user
community has gotten so used to broken tools that they now swear
by them and define accessibility by whether or not things work
with those tools. This is a dead-end that  I predicted 10 years
ago, but I'm still sorry to see that my predictions have proven
correct. For what I mean, see some of the comments / responses
that were raised by a related article I wrote on one of my other
blogs and forwarded to the wai-ig list.

The truth is that Emacspeak has some issues that are very hard for blind users to deal with. One important problem is internationalization. The whole world doesn't speak English. Emacs was written at a time when internationalization wasn't a consideration, and modifying it so that it affords it would be a herculean task, but one that is nonetheless necessary if it is to be hoped that it will be adopted by non-english-speaking users. This is not just speculation, btw, many Spanish-speaking potential users have told me that the language is an important barrier. Jaws, IE, Windows are internationalized. Orca is internationalized and people are starting to use it.

In addition, I have tried, I really have, and I'm a fairly technically competent user. I can write code. Yet I find Emacs such a difficult environment to master. The emacs tutorial doesn't have enough information and the emacs manual has far too much. Learning to use emacs competently--and if one wants to use emacspeak efficiently one must be able to use emacs competently--takes a very long time. Issues with having to use (or being recommended to use) versions from repositories, that sometimes break, don't make the experience any better.

At this stage, I humbly propose that blaming the user is not the right strategy, and that some thinking should take place on what is to be done, so that people can more easily jump onto the emacs toolset, and become productive users with it. I have a few ideas.


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