Re: File Explorer woes


On Mon, Dec 6, 2021 at 05:01 PM, Gene wrote:
I think that mentioning the importance of listening for information about the control or structure you are in in unfamiliar settings is important.
It's not just important, it's critical!

Joseph Lee coined the term "information blackout" to describe the fact that there are parts of a screen (or dialog, or whatever) that the sighted just take in as a part of the whole that a screen reader user has no idea even exists unless the screen reader is allowed to go on for long enough to announce it.  This really cannot be fixed in any meaningful sense.

It's funny, but one of the problems I find I have when teaching those new to a screen reader, and particularly if a synth with a very human sounding voice is in use, is getting them to understand that it's perfectly OK to hit CTRL or ESC to shut the screen reader up.  They treat screen reader output as though a real human is reading it to them rather than software.  While I understand why that is, you also have to stop thinking that way or you end up wasting a ton of time.

But the converse is also true, particularly when someone is entering "new territory."  I know that for "old territory" you neither need nor want to listen to the screen reader blithely babble on about what you already know, and know well.  But when something is entirely fresh, and particularly if that something is likely to be repeatedly visited as time goes on, spending a bit of preliminary time to get the full lay of the land is time well spent.  Once you know what you're skipping/missing by interrupting the screen reader, that's fine, but not so much before.  I've had way more than one, "I never knew that was there," declaration because the user had never once allowed the screen reader to read through, from beginning to end.  And this was often after years of having used the venue where that previously unknown thing has always been present.

I guess this is a meta version of "tool to task."  When something's new, taking the time to listen more than you ever will again is often helpful.  When something's not new, shushing the screen reader and getting straight to where you want to be is most often the better course of action.

Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H1, Build 19043  

The difference between a top-flight creative man and the hack is his ability to express powerful meanings indirectly.

         ~ Vance Packard


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