[Irl-dean] Emails and Screen Readers?

Tim Culhane tim.culhane at criticalpath.net
Thu Jul 27 08:11:47 IST 2006

Hi Brendan,

I think you might be  under a bit of a misconception as to how the modern
screen reader works.

Screen  readers today are extremely customisable and you can  configure the
screen reader to behave differently on the fly, on a per application basis,
or across all applications.

It is possible to read by character, line,  paragraph or entire  document in
one go.

It is possible to stop reading instantly at any time with a single key

For example, with Jaws,  hit the control key and speech ceases.

You can configure punctuation  levels so that groups of punctuation  symbols
are not spoken,  or even  one particular symbol  can be silenced.

You can configure the screen reader to  substitute  the name of one symbol
for another, i.e.  I could set up jaws to say the word 'dot'  every time it
sees a full stop, rather than have it say  'period'.

Naturally, there is no way of overcoming  the problem of bad spelling,  but
its something you get used to when listening to synthetic speech.  Its just
like when reading a mispelt word with your eyes,  the brain can work out
from the context  the correct word.

So no,   the disclaimers at the end of a message are not a problem.  I just
stop speech, hit escape  and I'm back in the message list.



-----Original Message-----
From: irl-dean-admin at list.eeng.dcu.ie
[mailto:irl-dean-admin at list.eeng.dcu.ie] On Behalf Of brendan spillane
Sent: 26 July 2006 18:39
To: Irl-dean at list.eeng.dcu.ie
Subject: [Irl-dean] Emails and Screen Readers?

Hi all,

I have just had a think about emails which are read by people who use screen
readers and I am wondering if anyone else has had it or solved the resulting

Many of us have rather large and boring legal disclaimers at the end of our
emails (see below)

My questions are.

1. Do screen readers read disclaimers every time they encounter them or do
the major email providers have some sort of script which stops the reader at
the end of the relevant content? If they do can the user then choose to read
the disclaimer or signature if they want to?

2. If the screen readers do read this information every time? How annoying
do the users of screen readers find them? Should something be done about it?

3. Does anyone know if any information on this topic

4. Has anyone taught, solved it before?

5. If they have, can they send me some information on it please?

This has made me think further into this and I am now wondering are there
guidelines for writing emails which are going to be regularly read by users
with screen readers?

How do they feel about the following common punctuation usages.

>> to show quotes?

- between words?

/ between words?

. at the end of a sentence ?

even bad spelling?

Dont even ask how I thought of this but any information on this is very much

With regards

Brendan Spillane

P.S. for any users of screen readers I apologise if you have had to read the
info below every time I have posted on this list.

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