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Bewildering Stories

Chris Kuell writes about...

Hearing Bewildering Stories

Hello Don,

Thanks for your e-mail. I use speech output, or screen reading software. When I type, my computer says the letters, and with certain keystrokes I can make it read words, sentences, pages, or most things.

It has flaws: for instance, it won’t read comments put into a Word document with the edit function, or security numbers or words designed only for visual recognition. Most web pages are okay, if cumbersome, unless there is a split window (that might not be the right terminology — I’m a computer user but know little else). When my screen reader focuses on one window, I may not even aware there is another window.

As for Bewildering Stories, I found your web page easily and navigated it with no difficulty, although I didn’t thoroughly explore it. I read through your editors’ picks, got a feel for the type of stories you are looking for, and then read through your guidelines.

The calendar or timeline for publication didn’t make much sense to me. I got the details for the next few issues, then a bunch of names of people who will have work appearing in the future.

Below I’ll paste in a link to an article that addresses web accessibility, especially for people with vision impairments. When you have a few minutes to kill, read it over, and maybe it will spark an idea or two: Web Accessibility

Have a great weekend,

Chris Kuell

Copyright © 2007 by Chris Kuell

Thank you for the very informative letter, Chris! I have enough trouble, myself, reading small print that I’m sensitive to the concerns of the visually impaired and want to make Bewildering Stories as accessible as possible.

The “split window” you mention discovering on some websites is probably due to the use of frames. Frames are “deprecated” — that is, obsolescent — in HTML. They are seldom seen any more on public websites, mainly because frames make a website’s contents invisible to Net indexers. That’s not a concern at the educational websites I work with, but I expect that even there the frames will eventually be replaced for the benefit of students who use text vocalizing software.

As it happens, Bewildering Stories started out with frames, but, with a lot of work, Jerry Wright and I managed to make the website “go frameless” in about the middle of Year 2. The use of server-side includes, while a little complex, makes frames and the resulting “split windows” unnecessary.

Your exploration of our website is a model of efficiency and one that all newcomers ought to adopt. I’m not surprised that the Schedule “In Times to Come” was a little hard to decipher aurally; it’s a table rather than a standard text document. From your account, it seems to me that you’ve understood it perfectly!

Monday is Victoria Day in Canada, and one of our customary “long weekends” of summer. Wishing you a fine weekend, as well.


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