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Screen readers and object models

This is directed primarily at people who are developing Screen Readers. I
don't know how much general interest there is in the topic.

In the Web Accessibility Initiative's User Agent Guidelines Working Group
- http://www.w3.org/WAI/UA - there is an ongoing discussion about what a
Browser (eg Netscape) needs to do, and what a screen reader needs to do,
in order to make information accessible.
(http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ua/1999JanMar is where most
of it has taken place, although the threading has been a bit dubious.)

The "pointy end" of the problem is in rendering tables within a browser,
although the increasing use of dynamic content will cause similar issues
to become important. The current suggestion is that a standard interface
between a screen reader (or other 'assistive technology') and the User
Agent (usually a browser) is necessary, and the proposals are to use the
Document Object Model, which is a recommendation of the W3C, or to use
'standard system APIs' such as Microsoft's Active Accessibility.

I assume that currently linux-based screen readers use some kind of
standard API (I don't actually know), but I wonder if people here have
thoughts on the topic?

Charles McCathieNevile

--Charles McCathieNevile            mailto:charles w3 org
phone: +1 617 258 0992   http://purl.oclc.org/net/charles
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative    http://www.w3.org/WAI
MIT/LCS  -  545 Technology sq., Cambridge MA, 02139,  USA

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