Surfing the Web with a Screen Reader

In the video “Surfing the Web With a Screen Reader,” Debbie a blind user, visits a university’s web pages and demonstrates how she surfs the web with a screen reader and Braille display. The video illustrates some of the most important principles in accessible web design, and demonstrates the challenges users of screen readers experience every day.

Formats available:

Choose from the following formats, and the following features…

  1. VHS - Price: $10.00 (includes shipping and handling, and Washington State Sales tax)
    • VHS with Closed Captioning. This is a regular VHS tape that can be viewed with or without closed captioning. For audience members who canít hear the sound, closed captioning shows spoken dialogue displayed as printed words on the screen, which are carefully placed to identify speakers, on- and off-screen sound effects, music and laughter. Closed captioning can be turned on or off depending on the needs of your audience members.
    • VHS with Descriptive Video Service. This version is suitable for audience members who have moderate to severe low vision, or are blind. DVS provides a separate audio narrative that runs between the pauses in the main audio track describing the actions on screen. Please note that DVS cannot be turned off in VHS format. You may wish to purchase a DVD version that gives you more flexibility in accommodating audiences with different needs.
    • Both Closed Captioning and Descriptive Video Service formats are available on the same VHS tape, with the CC format playing for the first 22 minutes 34 seconds, and the DVS format playing the second 22 minutes 34 seconds.
  2. DVD - Price: $10.00 (includes shipping and handling, and Washington State Sales tax)

    This is a fully accessible DVD that includes talking menus. To accommodate a wide variety of audience members, Descriptive Video Service (DVS) and Closed Captioning (CC) can be activated by the user.


About the Video

Length: 22 minutes 34 seconds

Content: The video contains 6 parts

  • Introduction - Debbie talks about how the Internet has changed her life and how she uses it for work and play every day.

  • About the Assistive Technology - This second segment provides a brief overview of the technology Debbie uses to access the computer.

  • Graphics – The third segment documents the importance of providing text alternatives and descriptions for non-text elements, including graphics.

  • Forms - In the fourth segment Debbie tackles web-based forms. She explains the difficulties users of screen readers encounter when filling out forms and shows how important appropriate HTML coding of forms is to users of screen readers.

  • Tables - In the fifth segment, Debbie demonstrates challenges presented by tables.

  • Accessibility works for everyone - In the closing segment, Debbie explains how accessible web design helps not only people who are blind, but also those with physical and cognitive disabilities.

Intended Audiences:

This video is intended for educators/instructors, web content developers, administrators, policy makers, advocates, government and others interested in raising awareness of or providing training on accessible web design. Anyone who needs to understand why and how to make web content accessible to people with disabilities will benefit from the information contained in this video. The video is suitable for non-technical audiences; no knowledge of HTML is required. It can be used by instructors, whether in classrooms or in distance learning, to educate web content developers, administrators, policy makers, and students about the importance and impact of designing websites with accessibility in mind.

Example: Using an accessible DVD to enhance instruction on accessible web design. An instructor teaches web design to students of computer sciences and informatics. She decides to dedicate a class to the topic of programming accessible websites, and before she covers the topic in her lecture she requires that students view the video “Surfing the Web with a Screen Reader.” This fully accessible DVD is available from the school library, either for students to checkout and view at home, or to view within the library individually or in small groups. Students who are hard of hearing or deaf, and those with limited English proficiency, will turn on the captioning feature. Students without disabilities may also find that captioning is helpful to them, because the video includes segments where the computer’s synthesized voice is reading output from web pages, and for some students this voice is difficult to understand. With captions on the screen, they receive both auditory and visual input, making it easier to fully absorb the material. Others may view the video without activating any of the special accessibility features. (It is preferable that captions be “closed”, or optional, as some students may find them distracting). Blind students and those with low vision can take the DVD home and operate it without any help, as the talking menus and audio description make it possible for these students to participate fully without needing additional accommodations. This way all students may use the same materials—a fully accessible DVD—and can choose which features to enable or disable for the optimal learning experience. If the instructor decided to show the video in the classroom, she could also choose to turn captions on or off depending on the needs of the students. Accessibility features are selected by using the menus built into the DVD, therefore making it easy for the instructor and the students to select the desirable features.

Streaming Video:

Each part can be shown by itself or in combination with any other segment, allowing educators to tailor the presentation to the needs of their audiences.

To see a sample clip from the video, click on the media player of your choice!