Having recently made a website in rather a hurry I wanted to use Apple’s VoiceOver to give me an idea of any things I still needed to attend to so the site is accessible for blind people.
I last messed around with VoiceOver when I was still using Mac OS X 10.4 and quickly became rather flummoxed now I’m using 10.5. After a deal of searching I found this most useful snippet:
When you turn on a new Mac for the first time, Mac OS X Leopard greets you with an audio prompt inviting you to activate VoiceOver, either to set up your computer or to begin the interactive VoiceOver Quick Start tutorial. The tutorial offers the quickest way to get started with VoiceOver.
If someone else set up your Mac, you chose not to watch the tutorial when prompted, or you’d like to watch it again, simply press Control-Option-Command-F8 while VoiceOver is running. The tutorial lets you safely learn at your own pace without making changes to your Mac.
I’ve opened up Safari and used VoiceOver to read one page aloud. I can immediately see a few things that need fine-tuning — making sure that all images have suitable alternate text, for example.
I’ve done the technical work on the site but various non-techies are adding content and they don’t necessarily know all they need to about alt text.
We also have a few glitches around some links and other items.
VoiceOver is a handy tool in a web designer’s toolbox.
Oh, and Zen at Heart, the site I’ve worked on, has a WordPress blog and a BBPress Forum, but only a couple of items are open to the public.
Zen at Heart is offering a Virtual Retreat to bring islands of quiet into the chaos of daily life. It’s open to all, by donation. Anyone can sign up for the Twitter feed, so even if you’re not into meditating, you might like occasional reminders like this one:
I’m in the middle of my working day and am taking time to feel the sun on my face.
It made me take a moment to go outside and feel the sun on my face. That was a welcome quiet moment in a busy day.