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RE: Blind software engineers, specifically UML

I can't say I've ever given it quite that much thought.  My perspective is a
little different since all of my students, without exception, are, have been
and probably always will be  sighted.  When they need a diagram, I give them
a diagram.  I either have them draw it themselves with my guidance as an
interactive exercise or, I use graphviz.  I do not use UML specifically but
diagrams are diagrams.  They are not for us.  They are for them.  You can
make them convey an enormous amount of information in a very small space.  I
only wish we had something comparable.  Closest I've seen are the "audible
icons" or "sound schemes" which you find from time to time in screen

Best regards,
Alex M

-----Original Message-----
From: Rob Hill [mailto:robhill@es.co.nz] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 4:27 AM
To: Pascal J. Bourguignon
Cc: emacspeak@cs.vassar.edu
Subject: Re: Blind software engineers, specifically UML

Hello Pascal, Daniel, and list, 

I am not a computer professional, having earned my living from physiotherapy
and latterly, transcribing, but my experience may be relevant to Daniel's

I thought Pascal related the place of graphical interfaces very well.
I came to the conclusion early on that we vision-impaired people who relate
to computers via speech syntesis are far better off using text-based systems
when available.  

If we use graphical interfaces, whether Daniel's UML diagrams or a gui
desktop, we have to attempt to contstruct the graphical interface in our
minds, attempt to input our needs into it, and then figure out the visual
rules for manipulating it.  This all involves wasted brain processing, as
compared to a linear text interface.  

Put another way, speech synthesis is basically a one-dimensional modality,
as are text-based modalities, whereas GUI tools are two-dimensional
modalities which do not fit well with speech. 

I think many vision-impaired people ask the wrong question:  they ask how
can we emulate the methods of sighted people to do jobs, when a better
question would be, how can we do that same job efficiently?  

All the above explains why I use emacspeak as first choice when presented
with a problem. 


Pascal J. Bourguignon writes:
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