Looking for a Programming Project which would really benefit blind people

Charles McCathieNevile charles at w3.org
Fri Feb 27 00:39:00 UTC 2004

Hi all,

An idea for a project: an editor that produces decent quality styled HTML,
and uses audio styling to provide something parallel to wysiwyg editing - so
that people don't need to read tag soup to edit HTML documents. It could be
done in emacspeak, but for many users a full emacs environment is too
powerful and complex already, and a purpose-built application might be

(You could also look at Amaya's "alternative view" and its structured editing
model stripping down the rest of the interface, and at the same time probably
contributing to improving Amaya's accessibility in general through work on
the relevant codebase).

Finally, the simplest linux installation I know of is Blindux (although it is
only available in Spanish at the moment). It provides a simple, limited
environment, uses pine for email (which is pretty much virus-proof in my
experience), has web browsing, simple file management, pico for basic
editing, and could really use Apache for sharing documents and an editor that
helped make structured documents. (Why shouldn't it be easy for history
students to hand in a piece of work that has a proper stylesheet applied to a
structured document and looks neat, without learning arcane markup that
sighted people never use?)

just some ideas


On Thu, 26 Feb 2004 herzog at frontiernet.net wrote:

>I thought Linux and EdMac would be the cheap fix for the blind.    So far
>Linux is only simple when you know, and Way too hard for a newbie; much
>less a blind person, to start alone.  And I have not learned enough to
>help.  I still think that there is a real need for the blind person to have
>a simple install, similar to the sighted person's Redhat 9 install disks.
>      Many elderly people just want a talking E-mail to help fill in their
>social isolation. Especially needed is the simple to use mail program that
>is immune to  virus, or require Norton, etc. and can be simply installed on
>any old computer that has or can accept a sound board.
>      After they get started they are ready to add letter writers (Word
>Processing) and printing; Yes many use their outputs to sighted people.
>> > >So I'm looking for suggestions for programs that would really benefit
>> > >blind people. I think a text-mode program, possibly using the curses
>> > >library, would be most appropriate. I've tested Gnome and Gnopernicus, but
>> > >they really aren't ready for normal use by blind persons, at least not for
>> > >those who use braille displays.
>> > >
>> > >On a related subject, I really can't see any inherent advantage to a GUI
>> > >unless you can actually SEE the screen. All the usability features can be
>> > >implemented in text mode.

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