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New JAWS 8.0 Update "successfully handles and reads Ajax-enabled Web pages when using Internet Explorer 7"?

April 26, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Freedom Scientific has come out with a new update to JAWS 8.0. This makes the third update for Windows 2000 and XP users and represents Public Beta 2 for Vista users. Most importantly on Vista is that this version now supports User Access Control (UAC).

In the update’s release notes, the following interesting statement is made: “JAWS successfully handles and reads Ajax-enabled Web pages when using Internet Explorer 7”. What exactly is meant by this statement? I just tried the standard Ajax view of GMail, which still does not work with JAWS after the update.

The jury is still out on whether or not the issues with blank virtual buffers in Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer and Outlook Express have been resolved. I sure hope so, as this issue is keeping us from installing JAWS 8.0 on Karen’s computer. She’s still running 7.1, as are many others.

Categories: JAWS

Today’s KDD: Darrell

April 26, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Some of you may know Darrell, from his Desert Café show,
Yet, did you also know,
He is into Ham radio?
a very long time ago,
It became a hobby and with radios,he loved to play,
And, those experiences, influenced his career today,
After, being introduced to it, by our good friend jeff Bishop, you see,
And by age 12, he had his Extra Class License from the FCC.

Some of you, may know him best,
From his advocacy work, he wants equal access,
For all, for the blind,
He is one, who always speaks his mind
He is not one, who is afraid to speak out,
If you want to know more, go to his blog and find out what he is about. is his site,
And unlike me, he doesn't like to creatively write,
He is a techie and into the History Channel,
And court Tv,
And 12 years he has known me.
Some of you may know his Political Views,
That he likes to report the News,
You may also know, that he enjoys reading Sci FI books,
Yet, does not like to cook.

His favorite Authors are Dean Koontz and Tom Clancy
And, he does not like anything fancy,
Not Gourmet food , not into fashion but, loves the beach,, ,
Hopes, others he can reach,
Change the world for the blind,improve our Society,
For you and me.

He would love to quit his day job and be a beach bum full time,
Does not like wine,
But does, fried foods and sweets he enjoys,
As well as electronic gadgets, they are toys,
For Him,
He also likes to swim,
And the snow
And did you also know?
He is a Technical writer,likes to surf the net, ,
And would like to be a Fighter Pilot ,
And travel to space as wel,
And his computer is a dell.

Tuesday Night's He co-hosts Main Menu,
And did you know too,
He is on ACB Radio's Web team,
Things are not always what they seem,
If you want to know more about Darrell , go to his blog,
See, what he does log
And you will find out more about him, his life,
And me, his wife.

Categories: Uncategorized

New JAWS Script Exchange and HomerKit

April 23, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

A new merge technique has been introduced in JAWS Script Exchange 1.4,
released today at

In the new HomerKit 1.1, available at
the technique is used to add enhancements to the Internet Explorer scripts
supplied with JAWS. In this example, the file HomerIE.jss contains the
enhancements. Its top line is as follows:

;Merge "BrowseUI"

This tells JSX to merge HomerIE.jss into the script set that is associated
with the base name BrowsUI (the name including extension is BrowseUI.dll).
JSX looks up the association in ConfigNames.ini, located in either the All
Users or personal script folder. With JAWS 8 and above, the main file of
the IE script set is called "Internet Explorer.jss." With lower JAWS
versions, it is called "Internet Explorer 5-6.jss."

JSX adds the following line at the bottom of the existing file:

Use "HomerIE.jsb"

The enhanced script set is recompiled. JSX also merges settings from
HomerIE.jkm into the existing IE .jkm file.

Anyone prefering a manual installation can use the zip archive at

Manual instructions and other documentation for the Homer IE enhancements
are contained in a section of Editor.htm. Below is a summary of the
keyboard interface, which supplements, rather than replaces, JAWS quick
navigation keys in IE.

Presently, in a project of this complexity, some rough edges undoubtedly
remain. More Testing with IE7, for example, is definately needed. I hope
to continue strengthening the code, and welcome help from other scripters
in making this happen.


Hotkey Summary
List of Internet Explorer Keys in related groups

Documentation F1 Open application documentation
About Alt+F1 Display application version and release date
Alternate Menu Alt+F10 Present all scripts in a single, alphabetized list
Hot Key Summary Alt+Shift+h Display this list of command names, hot keys,
and descriptions in default editor
Hot Key Help JAWSKey+h Display JAWS IE help in the virtual viewer, or
display Homer Editor guide if repeated

Select All Control+A Select all text
Unselect All Control+Shift+A Clear text selection

Select Chunk Control+Space Select contiguous sequence of non-blank
characters at cursor, or select the next chunk if a selection already
Say Selected Shift+Space or JAWSKey+Shift+DownArrow Say selected text
Say Chunk Shift+BackSpace Say chunk at cursor

Start Selection F8 Mark starting point of text to be selected
Complete Selection Shift+F8 Select text from starting point to cursor
Copy All Control+F8 Copy all text to clipboard
Read All Alt+F8 Say all text (without moving cursor)

Say Address Alt+Delete Say line, column, and percent position of cursor
Say Yield Text Alt+y Say number of characters, words, and lines in text
Say Yield Structure Alt+Shift+y Say number of links, headings, and frames
in page

Quote Clipboard Alt+' Say clipboard text
Clear Clipboard Alt+Shift+' Clear clipboard text
Save Clipboard to Text File Control+' Save clipboard text to file on disk
Append Clipboard to Text File Control+Shift+' Append clipboard text to
file on disk

Configuration Options Alt+Shift+C Adjust configuration options of the
Manual Options Alt+Shift+M Adjust extra options of scripts by editing its
.ini file

Copy Control+c Copy selected text to clipboard, or copy current line if no
Copy Append Alt+c Append selected text to clipboard, or append current
line if no selection
Paste Control+v Paste text from clipboard

Count with Regular Expression Control+Shift+C Count parts of text matching
a regular expression
Extract with Regular Expression Control+Shift+e Extract text matching a
regular expression

Forward Find Control+f Search forward for string
Reverse Find Control+Shift+f Search backward for string
Forward Again F3 Search forward for next match
Reverse Again Shift+F3 Search backward for previous match

Indent Alert Toggle Alt+Shift+i Toggle announcement of changes in
Toggle Punctuation JAWSKey+Accent Toggle JAWS voice between all and no

Jump to Line Control+j Jump to line
Jump Again Alt+j Repeat Jump to Line command

Set Bookmark Control+k Set bookmark at cursor position
Clear Bookmark Control+Shift+k Clear bookmark at cursor position
Go to Bookmark Alt+k Go to bookmark in current document
Set ID Bookmark Control+F9 Set bookmark at current ID in HTML of page
Clear ID Bookmark Control+Shift+F9 Clear current ID bookmark
Go to ID bookmark Alt+F9 Go to ID bookmark in current page

Set Favorite Control+l Add current url to the list of favorites
Clear Favorite Control+Shift+l Clear current url from the list of
List Favorites Alt+l Open an url from the list of favorites
Recent Files Alt+r Open an url from the list of those recently used

New File Control+n Open a new browser window at the same url
New from Clipboard Control+Shift+n Open the default editor with clipboard

Open Control+o Open url
Open Again Alt+o or F5 refresh the current page

Save Body to Text File Control+s Save page body to file on disk
Append Body to Text File Control+Shift+s Append page body to file on disk
Save HTML Alt+Shift+s Save page to HTML file on disk
Save Target Alt+s Save target of current url reference to file on disk

Mail Page Control+m Mail current page as attachment
Mail Link Control+Shift+m Mail current link as attachment
Print Control+p Print current page
Run at Cursor Shift+F5 Execute a web URL or email address at cursor

Spell Check F7 Spell check all or selected text
Thesaurus Shift+F7 Look up synonyms for word at cursor

Say Page Url Alt+p Say url of current page, or copy to clipboard if
Append Page Url Alt+Shift+p Append url of current page to clipboard
Say Url Reference Alt+U Say url reference of current link, or copy to
clipboard if repeated
Append Url Reference Alt+Shift+U Append url reference to clipboard
Say Body Alt+B Say body of current page, or copy to clipboard if repeated
Append Body Alt+Shift+B Append body to clipboard
Say Rest Control+R Say rest of text from cursor position, or copy to
clipboard if repeated
Append Rest Control+Shift+R Append rest to clipboard

End Character Alt+End Go to last non-blank character of line and read it
Home Character Alt+Home Go to first non-blank character of line and read
Next Word JAWSKey+RightArrow Go to next word and read it
Previous Word JAWSKey+LeftArrow Go to previous word and read it
Next Chunk Control+RightArrow Go to next chunk and read it
Previous Chunk Control+LeftArrow Go to previous chunk and read it
Next Sentence Alt+DownArrow Go to next sentence and read it
Previous Sentence Alt+UpArrow Go to previous sentence and read it
Next Paragraph Control+DownArrow Go to next paragraph and read it
Previous Paragraph Control+UpArrow Go to previous paragraph and read it

Navigation Skip Alt+N Search for "skip navigation" link and execute it if
Printer Friendly Version Control+Shift+P Search for "printer friendly
version" and execute it if found

Load Text File to Clipboard Control+T Load text file onto clipboard
Append Text File to Clipboard Control+Shift+T Append text file to

Explorer Alt+Backslash Open Windows Explorer
Command Line Control+Backslash Open a command prompt

Current Windows F4 Activate a browser window from a list of those
currently open
Exit Alt+F4 Exit browser instance

Query Script Set JAWSKey+Q Check which scripts are active
Elevate Scripts JAWSKey+Control+F11 Download latest scripts and run
installer (after confirming)

Categories: Uncategorized

Winamp Version 5.34 is now Available

April 23, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Winamp version 5.34 is now available and one place where you can
download it from is at

The beta cycle for
winamp 5.34 has ended and this is the officially released
version. Here are the changes in this version and there are quite a
lot of changes this time!

* New: IPv6 support
* Improved: Made installer delete in_mp3pro :/
* Improved: Embedded IE pages now run in a separate thread
* Improved: General speed and performance optimizations
* Improved: Various Media Library resize flicker fixes
* Improved: GDI+ video rendering for Windows Vista
* Improved: IPC_CONVERTFILE now uses api_decodefile (for ripping &
* Improved: [in_wave] Added ATF support for %bitrate%
* Improved: [gen_ff] Better handling of invalid XML during skin load
* Improved: [gen_jumpex] JTFE Unicode support
* Improved: [ml_local] Composer / Album view (in Edit View, Filters tab)
* Improved: [ml_local] Unicode drag&drop and send-to support
* Improved: [ml_local] Added option for using Artist as Album Artist
* Improved: [ml_local] Updated 'Field names' in Smart View query
* Improved: [ml_pmp] PMP Unicode support
* Fixed: ???? in the taskbar & system tray with Unicode titles (note
that many third party plugins will cause this to revert back to ????)
* Fixed: CD Burning on Windows Vista
* Fixed: Classic skin scrollbar overlap display glitch with 'smooth
resize' enabled
* Fixed: Crash on exit with docked playlist toolbar (ml_local/ml_playlists
* Fixed: DirectDraw video rendering (non-overlay mode) constant
* Fixed: Folder locking bug after using Open Files/Folder dialog
* Fixed: Installation of Sonic Engine on systems with other
Sonic/Roxio products
* Fixed: Installer resets cwd= to the install dir
* Fixed: Redraw bug when moving external windows over Pledit
* Fixed: Tab orders in Preferences
* Fixed: Various media library accessibility/focus issues
* Fixed: Video crash when using WinKey+L
* Fixed: [enc_lame] Better output samplerate selection for transcoding
* Fixed: [enc_wav] WAVs missing first 11 samples
* Fixed: [gen_ff] Tooltips appear on primary monitor only
* Fixed: [gen_jumpex] Stability issues and key reported plugin bugs
* Fixed: [gen_ml] Keyboard focus issue
* Fixed: [gen_ml] Node alignment bug
* Fixed: [in_cdda] Long artist/albumartist CD Info bug
* Fixed: [in_cdda] Crash on Winamp exit after playing Audio CD
* Fixed: [in_cdda] CDDB crash-on-close bug
* Fixed: [in_cdda] CD-Text adds to end of cddb fields instead of clearing
* Fixed: [in_dshow] Potential crash on corrupt/malformed media files
* Fixed: [in_dshow] Crash scanning ml folders containing videos on a
network drive
* Fixed: [in_mod] .s3m and .it memory corruption bug
* Fixed: [in_mp3] Memory leak when retrieving info for .aac files
* Fixed: [in_mp3] .aac / out_wave playback glitches
* Fixed: [in_vorbis] Album tag removed when using ml 'edit selected items'
* Fixed: [in_wm] Crash when trying to burn WMA files
* Fixed: [libsndfile] matlab (.mat) memory corruption bug
* Fixed: [ml_local] Composer tag not saving with 'Edit Info'
* Fixed: [ml_local] Total size not showing up in local media views
* Fixed: [ml_local] Possible duplicate entries on upgrades after
rescanning folders
* Fixed: [ml_local] (No Album Artist) & (No Publisher) sometimes
displays no results
* Fixed: [ml_local] Sorting Album pane by Year
* Fixed: [ml_local] isempty/isnotempty for querying empty/populated fields
* Fixed: [ml_local] Search broken in simple views (Win2k-specific)
* Fixed: [ml_playlists] Drag+Drop playlists to pmp devices broken
* Fixed: [ml_pmp] Possible crash when deleting a group of songs
containing non-sequential duplicates
* Fixed: [ml_pmp] "haven't" typo in prefs 😀
* Fixed: [ml_rg] ReplayGain analysis failing on mono mp3's
* Fixed: [ml_rg] Now skips over DRM WMA files instead of applying
-24601 dB gain
* Fixed: [ml_transcode] Now prevents same source and destination filename
* Fixed: [ml_wire] Crash when encountering certain non-xml feeds
* Fixed: [pmp_ipod] Incompatibility with iTunes 7.1
* Fixed: [pmp_p4s] Launching Winamp on device insertion not working
* Fixed: [pmp_p4s] No longer creates .alb files on devices that don't
support it
* Updated: in_vorbis to libvorbis 1.1.2 and libogg 1.1.3
* Updated: in_flac 2.0 (based on FLAC 1.1.4)
* Updated: MusicIP Mix (formerly Predixis MusicMagic) v1.1
* Updated: Sonic Ripping/Burning Engine v3.6.36.500
* Updated: [gen_jumpex] Jump To File Extra v0.99.1a

Categories: Uncategorized

Coming up on Main Menu and Main Menu Live for the week of April 25, 2007

April 23, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

This week on the first hour of Main Menu, we hear from Chris Gray, President of the American Council of the Blind and Bay Area Digital, all about a new accessible glucometer under development. We start with a demonstration of the glucometer recorded with Chris Gray, Jeff Bishop and Marlaina Lieberg at the 2007 CSUN conference. After the demonstration, Chris will come on the show live to answer all your questions.

During the second hour, we bring on Karen McCall to talk with us all about accessible PDF, Office 2007 and tablet PC’s.

The number to call into the show is 866-400-5333. You can also email your

questions to

You can also interact with the show via MSN Messenger. The MSN Messenger ID

to add is:

Would you like to interact with a group of Main Menu listeners about the

topics heard on Main Menu and Main Menu Live? You can do this by joining the Main Menu Friends email list. The address to subscribe is:

Come join an already lively group of users.

Would you like to subscribe to podcasts feeds for Main Menu and Main Menu Live? The RSS feeds to add to your podcatching application are:

Main Menu

Main Menu Live

Main Menu and Main Menu Live can be heard on Tuesday evening at 9:00

Eastern, 6:00 Pacific, and at 1 universal on Wednesday morning on the ACB Radio Main Stream channel.

To listen to the show, just click this link:

Jeff Bishop and Darrell Shandrow

The Main Menu Production Team

Categories: Uncategorized

GW Micro on Computer America Radio Show

April 23, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

When: April 24, 2007
Where: Computer America Show
Time: 10:05 PM – 11:00 PM Eastern Time USA
Website for stream is:

Hour one: GW Micro. Since 1990, GW Micro has listened to screen-reader
users and incorporated many of their suggestions into one powerful product:
Window-Eyes. The result? A wide variety of speech features and the
flexibility needed for running many of today's most advanced Windows
applications. Hear about a screen reader that is adaptable to your specific
needs and likes, and yet work automatically enough for you to focus
attention on your application program, not so much on operating the screen

Categories: Uncategorized

Accessible Devices Request For Help In Evaluating Braille Keyboard Program

April 22, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker
Some of you may wish to take part in this.  This is all we have about it.
Hi All,
I was asked to review a demonstration version of a program that turns
your QWERTY keyboard into a braille keyboard. This is similar to what you find in many braille translation programs. The difference here is that this braille keyboard works in all applications.  It lets the user enter text in contracted or uncontracted braille using a word processor, e-mail, or what ever. Since braille only uses six keys, there is some indication that it may be a faster entry method than print letters for those who are familiar with the braille code.  Please give it a try and reply to the list, to me, or to the reply section on their web site. I think you’ll find it an interesting program. You can download the demonstration version at
I, nor AFB, are endorsing this product in any way, but I am simply providing it as information.  Be sure to select Version 1.3 and read the setup instructions before installing it on your computer.
Have fun,
Ike Presley

Categories: Uncategorized

Menus That Talk(TM) – Restaurant Menus Get Table Smarts

April 22, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

PR Newswire
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Menus That Talk(TM) – Restaurant Menus Get Table Smarts

Miami company introduces portable electronic menus that speak; uniquely
serves the special needs of the visually impaired, elderly and non-English
speaking guests

MIAMI, April 18 /PRNewswire/ — Taylannas Inc. announces the launch of
an electronic restaurant menu system, Menus That Talk(TM), a portable,
compact device, approximately the size of a DVD case, that speaks to
restaurant guests, describing selected food items from the hand-held unit's
illuminated buttons.
A lighted array of buttons displays major menu categories like DRINKS,
APPETIZERS and SEAFOOD. Guests simply press a button corresponding to a
category and hear brief descriptions of cuisine, wine suggestions, sides
and prices. At the touch of a button, Menus That Talk describes what's for
No habla ingles? No problem: Just press the language button for Spanish
or another language. No more squinting in dim light or turning page after
page of complex printed menus. No more awkward conferences with busy
Ready to order? A Service button pages your waiter. For the visually
disabled, the buttons are also imprinted in Braille. Guests who can't see
the button names and don't use Braille can browse the menu simply by
tapping buttons to hear categories. Another tap brings up the details.
In noisy restaurants or for the hearing-impaired, Menus That Talk
features a detachable hand-held earphone. The earphone also interfaces with
Tele-coil equipped hearing-aids.
Menus That Talk(TM) serves the needs and comforts of all restaurant
patrons with its simple layout, ease of use and ability to deliver voice
anywhere in the restaurant. Benefits for the restaurants include
streamlining menu selections, reducing server assistance time and bringing
the menu to a larger, appreciative audience.
"Menus should be able to communicate without being a challenge," said
President and CEO Susan Perry. "We're making a restaurant's entire menu
available to all its customers, and we're making it a pleasurable
The idea originated in an Olive Garden restaurant where Ms. Perry was
having lunch with her niece Jessica, a pretty 24-year-old with advanced
macular degeneration who cannot read a menu from any distance. Jessica
asked her aunt to please read the menu to her. Susan had forgotten to bring
her reading glasses. They laughed about it, but Susan thought, "Why
shouldn't menus be able to talk?"
Menus That Talk(TM) premieres to the public at the National Restaurant
Association show in Chicago, May 19-22, 2007.

Susan Perry, President, CEO

Richard Herbst, VP Marketing
cell: 786-449-9351

SOURCE Taylannas Inc.
Related links:

Categories: Uncategorized

Perkins adds voice to suit against US

April 22, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

The Boston Globe, USA
Thursday, April 19, 2007

Perkins adds voice to suit against US

By Stephanie V. Siek, Globe Staff

Take out a $1 bill, $5 bill, and a $10 bill. Now close your eyes. Can you
tell which is which?

Now imagine trying to buy a candy bar, or pay for a bus ticket, or get
change from a taxi driver. You are left dependent upon the honesty and good
will of others to avoid being cheated.

A Watertown institution, the Perkins School for the Blind, is offering
support to a legal battle to force the United States to do what such
countries as Canada, China, Gambia, Bangladesh, Australia and the members of
the European Union already do: Print currency that is distinguishable by
people who can't see.

The United States was the only one out of 171 currency-issuing bodies that
lacked bills with features to help nonsighted or low-vision people tell
different denominations apart, according to a 1995 study by the National
Academy of Sciences. Other countries use such methods as different sizes for
each denomination, embossed numbers or symbols, high-contrast colors, and
large-print numbers.

The American Council of the Blind in 2002 filed a lawsuit alleging that the
US Treasury discriminated against the visually impaired by repeatedly
failing to redesign its paper money in a way that would allow it to be
readily distinguishable. In November, a federal court judge ruled in the
council's favor. The government is appealing the decision.

Last week, two Yale University School of Law students came to the Perkins
School to interview students, staff, and community members. The testimony
will be used to prepare a friend-of-the-court brief offering the school's
position on the case.

The issue is one with particular relevance for one of the law students,
Cyrus Habib, who has been blind since birth.

After US District Judge James Robertson's decision last fall, Habib
approached one of his professors, Harold Hongju Koh, who is also the law
school's dean and is notable for his work in civil and human rights cases.

"He said, 'Someone should really write an amicus brief on this,' " said
Habib, referring to the "friend" filing. "I didn't realize at the time that
was code for 'Get busy.' "

But eventually he did, along with classmate Jon Finer. Koh is supervising
the pair's work.

"People shouldn't have to rely on other people to do something," said Habib,
referring to how visually impaired people need help at the cash register.
"This is deeply American — the idea of being an individual, being

"A day like this is fantastic," Finer said after the two first-year law
students met with Perkins students last Friday. "It pushes the issue forward
just being here."

But t he currency issue isn't just a consumer issue for visually impaired
people; it also can affect their job opportunities.

Perkins student Cory Kadlik, 16, discovered this when he called a deli near
his home in Medway about a part-time job that would involve working the cash
register. The owner turned him down, saying that dishonest customers could
take advantage of Kadlik.

"I feel bad for them because they want to give you the job, but they can't,"
Kadlik said of potential employers like the deli owner. "It kills them to do
that. I feel bad and they feel bad, it's a mess. I just cry."

One of the school's social workers, in a later session, agreed.

"The ability to manage your own money, to be independent in that way. . .
that's so greatly affected," said Jim Witmer. "The simplest of transactions
and purchases requires some sort of assistance. They don't have the access
their peers do, and built into that is learning mathematics, learning social

Tyler Tarrasi, a 17-year-old from Framingham, said he feels at a
disadvantage to sighted teens his age looking for work in a store. "When you
can't read the money, you can't have the job."

There are more than 3 million blind or low-vision people in the United
States, according to the National Eye Institute, and not all of them agree
with the American Council of the Blind's position. The National Federation
of the Blind called Robertson's decision "dangerously misguided," and argued
that such efforts distract from more important problems, such as lack of
access to information in Braille and other formats.

"The blind need jobs and real opportunities to earn money, not feel-good
gimmicks that misinform the public about our capabilities," the federation's
president, Dr. Marc Maurer, said in a statement after the November court
decision. The ruling, he went on to say, "argues that the blind cannot
handle currency or documents in the workplace and that virtually everything
must be modified for the use of the blind. An employer who believes that. .
. will have a strong incentive not to hire a blind person."

Almost 38,000 people in Massachusetts are legally or totally blind,
according to the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.

The US government's defense is that failing to have discernible currency may
be an inconvenience, but it is not discriminatory. It also maintained that
redesigning paper money would be too expensive, an argument that Robertson

Using estimates from the federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing, he
reasoned that the most expensive design option, making bills in different
sizes, would cost up to $228 million initially and $52 million more per year
than the current design. He noted the cost would amount to "only a small
fraction" of the bureau's budget.

"Over the past 10 years — and two redesigns — the BEP has spent $4.2
billion on currency production, an average of $420 million per year,"
Robertson said in his decision. He added that if adaptive features were
incorporated into a pre planned redesign, "the total burden of adding such a
feature would be even smaller."

As an alternative to using redesigned cash, the Treasury's lawyers said,
blind people could use digital currency readers, or pay for items with debit
or credit cards.

Habib said plastic cards are often useless in such daily transactions as
buying candy or a subway ticket. Besides, he said, he still needs a sighted
person to verify that a credit card receipt is correct.

As for currency readers, they are costly, heavy, and are unreliable with
worn bills, advocates for the blind say.

The federal government also said the visually impaired can identify paper
money by developing their own money-handling techniques, such as folding
each denomination a different way, or keeping bills in different pockets.

In response, blind people note that they still have to rely on others to
make sure they receive or give the correct change.

Alison Roberts of Waltham is a co founder of, an
Internet-based organization fighting for currency change. At a meeting with
Habib and Finer, she demonstrated a commonly used reader. The Note Teller
took more than two minutes to "read" five bills, and the newly redesigned
$20 bill wasn't recognized at all.

"Imagine you're the person behind me in line," said Judi Cannon, who is
blind and a Braille services specialist at Perkins.

Or, Roberts added, imagine you're a cashier, trying to use the Note Teller
to count up the day's receipts.

Jason Campbell, a 21-year-old Perkins student, said not being able to handle
money reinforces stereotypes about blind people.

"They think blind people can't do much," he said. If they don't give you a
chance, you can't prove them wrong. And maybe they don't want to be proven

Stephanie V. Siek can be reached at

Categories: Uncategorized

Making The Case for E-Commerce Site Accessibility

April 19, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Hello All:

I am working with a market research firm in Chicago that wants to make the
case to on-line e-commerce sites such as on-line grocery shopping services
that it makes good business sense to make their sites accessible to people
who are blind or visually impaired that use screen reading and screen
magnifying software. There is a lot of potential for this work which may
include developing something to put onto various on-line sites or that
someone could get which would cause an on-line site to detect that you are
using a screen reader or magnifier and present a different view of the site
for you.

Right now, this company is looking to find out some demographic data about
people who are blind or visually impaired. I have been on the phone to AFB
and I've got the 10 million number of people who are blind in the United
States. At this point, this company wants to focus on the United States.
There is some other information they want such as:
1. How many people who are blind or visually impaired use computers and the
2. What is the spending power of people who are blind or visually impaired?
In other words, how much disposable income do they have?
3. How often do those using computers and the internet do business at
on-line shopping sites? Would they spend more time and money shopping
on-line if sites were more accessible?
4. Is lack of accessibility to on-line shopping sites the primary reason
they do not do more shopping on-line? What other reasons, if any, do they
not shop on-line?

What I'm wondering is, has anyone done research to gather this kind of
information? If so, how recently was that done and are there any reports of
any findings that I can get ahold of?

We are also pursuing other avenues. For example, we're contacting the
various screen reader and screen magnifier vendors to find out how many
active licenses they have throughout the United States. This will help us
get a rough idea of how many people are using computers out there. I've
been told by Jay Leventhal at AFB that the vendors are pretty secretive with
this information.

Anyway, if anyone knows of recent research findings in this area, I'd
appreciate learning of them. You can contact me at work by phone or e-mail.
Call 888-825-0080 or e-mail


Ray Campbell

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