RE: Braille converter eases web use

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Fri Apr 13 2007 - 05:24:22 CST

  • Next message: Samuel Thibault: "Re: Braille converter eases web use"

    Is Braille international? I don't think so: each language has its own set of
    supported characters for the Braille transliteration, and no Braille system
    can support all languages or scripts, even if there are common subsets for
    common scripts (basic letters, digits, a few punctuations and space, but
    even the way to transcribe the case differences are different. And letters
    with diacritics are not always transcribed.

    For this reason, I think that such announcement is misleading: it should not
    use an expression inferring that there's a single adaptation to Braille of
    the characters used in Western Europe, because they are really different,
    and the traditions of Braille are specific for each language whose standard
    Latin orthography may be encoded with Windows 1252.

    The Braille system is different and is not related to Windows 1252 (which
    was designed to support several languages in a common encoding, but this
    cannot be kept when transcribing to Braille).

    Braille should really be considered as a separate script, distinct from
    Latin. The conversion process is really a transliteration: it is not
    lossless, and it depends on the correct identification of the source
    language, as well as on the preferred Braille language of the reader.
    Publishing a website in Braille is illusory, it won't work as intended
    because it ignores the user's preferences (e.g. remember that the French
    Braille system used in France is different from the Spanish system used in
    Spain, and that there are even differences with the French Braille system
    used in Switzerland, or Canada...)

    So the best think that can be done is to adapt web sites so that they are
    readable by external Braille processors, connected to the user's PC, and
    that the user can adapt to his preferences. This means making websites that
    are following the standard rules for usability and whose reading and usage
    is not depending on things like color, font sizes, font style differences,
    and whose content is correctly structured in logical reading order (that's
    why CSS was invented: keeping the layout and appearance separate from the
    logical structure and allowing users to adapt their reading using their own
    CSS stylesheets).

    Unfortunately, almost all wellknown portals (except Google and may be
    Yahoo... but the top found links will go to unusable sites!) are completely
    unusable by Braille people because all their content is structured visually
    and usability was completely forgotten. The same is true for most online
    shops, and unfortunately too for most governmental websites that have
    adopted things like Flash navigation, portal-like complex layouts, dynamic
    menus, and various features that depend on the presence of a mouse and a
    high-resolution color display. As time is passing, the web is less and less
    usable for blind people, even if they have the right tool.

    > -----Message d'origine-----
    > De : [] De la
    > part de Andrew West
    > Envoyé : jeudi 12 avril 2007 13:28
    > À : Unicode Mailing List
    > Objet : Braille converter eases web use
    > <>
    > RoboBraille converts plain text and HTML (encoded in the "standard
    > Windows character set") to Braille via email.
    > Great idea, unfortunately, not a whisper of Unicode :-(
    > According to the RoboBraille site
    > <
    > FB13E684ED6C125718700216617?OpenDocument>)
    > it converts to "OctoBraille 1252, a Braille adaptation of the standard
    > Windows character set used in Western Europe developed by Synscenter
    > Refsnæs ( 1252.doc)".
    > Looks like there is still a long way to go in popularising Unicode.
    > Andrew

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