Frequent readers of this blog may recall that I recently took the Read Out Loud feature in Adobe Acrobat out for a good flogging. It’s not an accessibility tool, nor is it an accessibility testing tool, and my life’s work (it seems) is becoming a long-drawn out effort to convey this simple, uncomplicated fact to the people who need to know.
Today, I’ve got some more gripes detailing how Read Out Loud is ANYTHING but a screen-reader that Assistive Technology (AT) users can use.
A real screen-reader articulates meaningful punctuation such as parentheses, double quotes, dashes and slashes. Read Out Loud offers lots of interesting interpretations that have no place in AT.
Here are a few examples:
- A capital “P” will be read “Page”, i.e. “S&P 500” will be read as “S and Page 500”. In a real screen-reader, the user hears (as they should) “S and P 500”.
- In a table, Read Out Loud ignores parentheses used to indicate negative numbers. So a reader will think they’re positive numbers. Oops.
- Read Out Loud reads dashes (-) as “to”. Real AT says “dash”.
- Read Out loud reads slashes (/) as “over”, Real AT says “slash”.
By Duff Johnson