[Hpr] HTML notes accessibility pointer

Dave Morriss perloid at autistici.org
Wed Apr 6 09:38:02 PDT 2016

On 06/04/16 16:28, Mike Ray wrote:
> On 06/04/2016 16:09, Dave Morriss wrote:
>> On 06/04/16 13:45, Mike Ray wrote:
>>> Hello folks.
>>> I just wanted to point out a little thing about how to make HTML show
>>> notes more accessible to blind folks like me.
>>> When you're linking to something in your notes, like the previous
>>> episode in your series, please consider the method most screen-reader
>>> users use to navigate between links.
>>> All of the readers I have come across have a navigation key dedicated to
>>> stepping through varieties of landmarks in an HTML page.  For example
>>> the 'l' key to jump from link to link or the 'h' key to jump between
>>> headers.
>>> So, when using the keypress method of jumping from one link to the next
>>> it is very poor practice to, for example, make only the word 'here' a
>>> link in the middle of a sentence like 'Find the notes for episode N here'.
>>> If there are multiple links on a page of that kind then repeated presses
>>> of 'l' will just make the screen-reader say 'here, here, here, here,
>>> here' as you go from link to link.
>>> So, we then have to look at the surrounding text to identify what the
>>> link is.
>>> Likewise, if your notes contain the actual text 'http:// ... etc ... '
>>> after words which say what it is, we just get a Web address and it's not
>>> always obvious what it is.
>>> Better to make the whole of the 'find episode 1 of galvanic frogs leg
>>> spasm here' a hyperlink.
>>> Here endeth the lesson on the third Wednesday after muck spreading.
>> Thanks Mike, that's very informative.
>> I use Markdown for my notes (which I process with Pandoc, which give me
>> a few extra features). I generate links in the text by using references
>> such as:
>> 	In the [last episode][2] we looked at
>> This refers to reference 2 which is defined as:
>> [2]: http://hackerpublicradio.org/eps.php?id=1986 "Introduction to sed -
>> part 2"
>> The result is that the hyperlink is the text "last episode" but there's
>> also a title attribute of "Introduction to sed - part 2".
>> I had assumed that that generated the most informative result.
>> I also use what has come to be the HPR standard of making lists and a
>> link section where the hyperlink is the URL itself, preceded by text
>> explaining what it is.
>> I'm slightly dismayed to find that this is not ideal. I even have
>> scripts that generate it!
>> By the way, how did you know I was planning an episode about galvanic
>> frog's leg spasms?
> 'Galvanic frogs leg spasm' is a phrase that appears in 'Count Zero',
> book 2 of William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy.  I have just got into the
> habit of using it when I need a chunk of meaningless text.

I was "triggered" by your phrase :-)

I trained as a Biologist and remember doing the lab session about
galvanic response of frog's gastrocnemius muscle using so-called
"pithed" frogs (with their heads cut off, and spinal cord destroyed).
Biologists can be nasty.

> I love markdown and use the reference style links all the time.

In that case I'll continue doing what I have been doing.

> I've also just started using 'kramdown' which is markdown plus a lovely
> table syntax.  It's written in Ruby.

Interesting. Markdown and Pandoc tables are not very usable I reckon. I
used to use Asciidoc a lot and its table markup is better.

> I used one of your sed tricks this morning...sed -ne '/^xxx/,$p'.  Very
> handy.

There's a lot in sed that is worth knowing about but is a bit hidden or
poorly explained. Glad you're finding the series useful.


More information about the Hpr mailing list