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On 05/02/2018 01:08 PM, Virgil Arrington wrote:

Do you have any information/opinion about various forms of markdown files (i.e. Markdown, 
RestructureText, AsciiDoc).

What happens when a screen reader meets markup language depends upon:
# The program used to open the document;
** Some programs display raw markup;
** Some programs display the presentation;
** Some programs display both the markup, and the presentation;

# The specific screen reader;
** A screen reader I used to use, intercepted <ALT><B> keyboard commands
** Strings within a file are occasionally treated as keyboard commands.
Whilst this is usually a bug, it can be both extremely annoying, and
even more difficult to track down;

# How "Reading Punctuation" in the screen reader is configured;
** Typically, one can choose between none/some/most/all. My guess is
that most "experienced" screen reader users, set that to either "none",
or "some"(^2). Setting it to "all" can be extremely irritating to listen

# The operating system being used;
** Operating systems intercept keyboard commands before either the
screen reader, or the program can.  Once upon a time, I had a screen
reader that used <ALT><F4> to open either an extension, or an external
program. I don't remember which it was supposed to, but the inevitable
result was the program I was using, was closed. That same program had a
bug, that threw certain strings it read, straight to the OS, as if they
were keyboard commands;

I'd avoid anything that uses HTML markup tags. (^4)

The only suggestion I can make, in terms of markup files, is to
experiment with the a11y tools you have available. Some, probably most
colleges and universities in the US, have a person in the IT department,
whose primary function is to check a11y compliance. As oft as not, these
individuals are willing to do limited testing of material for local
school teachers.  (This is not an official part of their job. They do
it, because it is both good PR, and acts as an early warning system for
"unusual" disabilities (^5) that the college will have to accommodate.)

Would a screen reader get tripped up by the various formatting tags (* A Bulleted item; _italics_, 

Maybe. Maybe not.
If a Braille Display Monitor is used in conjunction with the screen
reader, then anything is possible. (^3)

Where most people fail, is in creating tables that make sense, when
using a Braille Display Monitor. In general, it is much easier to
rewrite the table, as a series of sentences, than to format it, so that
it makes sense when reading it in a Braille Display Monitor.

^1: Braille Display Monitors will frequently change <ALT><B> to ⠳.

^2: This is why punctuation of blind, and deaf-blind people can be
"strange".  They accidentally type ">", instead of ".", and because
punctuation is turned off, they don't realize that they made an error.

^3: In theory, Braille Display Monitors display the glyph as its comes
in, with no alterations, or modifications. Whilst the practice is
usually the same, I've come across a few monitors that have switches for
either "raw mode" or "translated mode", and if the latter is selected,
then an option to translate everything into either Grade 1, Grade 2, or
Grade 3.0 Braille, regardless of what is input.

Testing Braille Display Monitor compatibility is an extremely expensive
proposition. Cheap monitors run US$50.00 per cell. A good Braille
Display Monitor runs around US$100 per cell.

^4:  The major problem with HTML, is that most software that claims to
utilize it, has a broken implementation. Whilst brokenness such as
<BACKGROUND Color="000000">  within the text --- not markup --- causing
the entire background to be black, is no longer common, there are enough
other oddities, that there is a divergence between the desired effect,
and what the viewer sees.

^5: By way of example, deaf, blind, and is confined to a wheelchair.
Things that make life easy for one group of individuals can make life
impossible for a different group.  Things can become extremely
complicated when an individual is a member of both of those groups.


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