I recently came across the BBC Jaws screen reader that can although those with visibility issues to access the BBC site. This is an important part of my project to give as many people as possible access to the BBC archives.

The BBC has strict guidelines when developing for them. I feel that this project needs to be as realistic as possible in order to get a more professional feel and experience from it.

A short case study video has been undertaken on the BBC website where Geoff Adam-Spink the BBC age and disability correspondant interviews Robin Christopherson, works for AbilityNet ( Christopherson is blind and demonstrates how he uses the screen reading software Jaws.

What is Jaws screen reader?

Jaws is a screen reader that speaks everything that is on screen to the user. Jaws works as an equivalent to your eyes, which creates great access for those with disabilities. The software means that the user has to become fairly tech savvy which can be a problem, but it just means the user has to embrace the technology. Screen reading software is important to those who have disabilities, as the computer would become a very expensive paper weight without them.

Using screen read with DR WHO site

This was truly a new experience for me to navigate the web with. It was interesting trying to navigate just using the tab tool. As I don’t possess the Jaws screen reading software I couldn’t completely have a fully experience of what it would be like. I have briefly in the past used screen reading software and you have to think very differently when navigating. I think as long as each of the sections are separated clearly in a grid system then the screen reading software will have no problem reading my site. It just means my original idea will be fairly compromised now, however it may mean I may be able to build part of it. Simplicity is everything.

Considerations for screenreaders

As the screen reader needs to work for any BBC content, the dynamic side of the site may not be able to be as complicated due to the screen readers capability. The BBC guidelines that I have been looking into visual language have ways of making it as interactive as possible to be able to read with a screen reader. I think the next stage is to go through the BBC guidelines (GEL) and pool together what kind of graphics are going to be needed in order to make my idea come to life and at the same time link in well with current BBC guidelines.

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