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Help with Accessibility

Last Updated: Friday, 09-Jan-2015 12:32:43 PST

You can also browse my entire website via a screen reader and the graphics and colors on all my website designs are visible with 8 types of color blindness.

Open Source Friendly and Accessible

If for political or accessibility reasons (although my PDFs should meet both requirements) there are HTML, Open Document, DjVu, and RTF versions of most major texts.

Special Versions for the Sight Impaired

I have also recently figured out how to convert my books into Large Print Editions in PDF format, Daisy XML Talking Books format, and in Apple/iTunes/iPod audiobook format. These can be downloaded at my collected works page and audiobooks section and all my philosophy books, in the collected editions, are all in this format.

The Daisy Talking Books format does not have the audio for download, as each book is 150 MB compressed, as much as I can, but I have successfully converted it to Daisy Audio, iTunes audio book, and generic MP3 formats.

The downside is that some of the software required appears to by expensive and is only available for Windows. I think this applies to the screen reader. There is free (Windows only) software for reading the Daisy format, if you already have a screen reader.

More information about the Daisy format is available, in the zip archive download, that contains the books.

Voice Over: Apple's Built-In Screen Reader

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and higher, which comes free with any new Mac, the Apple iPhone 3GS, and the Apple iPad tablet now include a screen reader, called VoiceOver, designed by Apple, for free. It will work with many Mac OS X applications and has support for 30 of the most common refreshable braille displays included (with 10 more for free download).

Apple provides a quick start guide in a number of accessible formats and printable keyboard layouts. There is a free email list of users that can help you. For help within your Mac, launch the Quick Start application, by the following keystroke combination: Control-Option-Command-f8, and you can launch Voice Over, by the following keystroke combination: Command-f5. To navigate a Mac via a screen reader is slightly different than using one on a PC, so you need to learn some of the basics about how Mac OS X is set up.

You can read a third party review of VoiceOver in Mac OS 10.5 Leopard, a third party review of VoiceOver in Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard, another third party review of VoiceOver in Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard, a third party review of VoiceOver in iPhone 3GS, and a third party review of VoiceOver in Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard and the iPhone, or see Apple's VoiceOver part of their website. Unfortunately, I do not know if it is possible to read Daisy XML with VoiceOver on a Mac.

Other Help for Sight Impaired Users on Mac OS X, iPhone, and iPad

Mac OS X, Apple iPhone, and Apple iPad tablet include: Zoom, High Contrast, Closed Captioning, and Mono Audio. The Apple iPhone also includes: Voice Control, Speaker Phone, Audio/Visible/Vibrating Alerts, TTY support, Large Fonts for E-Mail, Visual Voice Mail, and more. Mac OS X also includes: Talking Alerts/Calculator/Clock, convert text to speech, and more.

I would recommend for sight impaired Mac users to use Preview (which comes with Mac OS X) to read my desktop printer versions, OpenOffice.org 3.0 or higher to read the open source friendly versions, Safari (which comes with Mac OS X), to read my web page versions, Text Edit (which comes with Mac OS X) to read my word processor version of my texts, or you can read the Daisy XML version in Safari, but you would have to navigate it like a web page.

Linux and Firefox for the Sight Impaired

Gnome, the default desktop for Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSolaris comes with Orca, which is a free and open source screen reader. Orca also supports Firefox 3.0, Evolution 2.6.1, OpenOffice.org 2.03, and Java applications. There is a list of Orca commands. Orca is supported by a mailing list.

Firefox 3 supports the following Windows based screen readers: JAWS 7.1, Window-Eyes 7, SuperNova 10, System Access 3, and the free and open source NVDA. The following Firefox add-ons might help the sight impaired: Accessibar, Firevox is a Firefox-based screen reader, Firefox Accessibility Extension, Adblock Plus removes ads on web pages, and Greasemonkey allows you to customize websites with downloadable scripts. There are also some special accessibility themes for Firefox. Firefox supports accessibility with a mailing list. A Firefox wiki gives a page that shows Firefox supported accessibility programs for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

Tested for Users with Color Blindness

I have tested my website for readability under a color blindness simulator and it is very readable, although the combination of color variations looks pretty ugly. I have tested all my website designs and color variations of each of those designs for 8 different kinds of color blindness: Dichromacy (Protanopia, Deuteranopia, and Tritanopia), Anomolous Trichomacy (Protanomaly, Deuteranomaly, and Tritanomaly), and Monochromacy (Typical Achromatopsia and Atypical Achromatopsia). This includes full and partial (complete and partial red-green and blue-yellow) color blindness.

8% of the male population and 0.5% of the female population have some level of color blindness. In contrast, only 2% of the world's population have low vision and only 0.6% are blind. Many legally blind people can still see somewhat.

I Still Cannot Access PDFs

Remember, my PDFs texts are all text only, almost all are structures/tagged/bookmarked and do not use columns or tables, so if you are vision impaired, you should be able to read them fine.

If you have read through the information in this help section and still have an electronic device that is not compatible with any of the PDF viewers in the help pages for your computer or other Internet device or cannot view it for any other reason and a file is only available as a PDF, use Adobe's online converter.

If for some reason you ever run into a PDF file and are unable to view it, you can convert from a PDF to a regular web page (HTML) with this free Adobe service

Final Options

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