Listen to a web page in audio

Due: 30 September before class.

Next class our guest speaker is going to be a Carolina student who is visually impaired. She will talk to us about the technology she uses to do her work. In preparation for her visit I want you to listen to two audio clips that illustrate how web pages sound to blind people.

As you listen to these clips, try to answer the question: What chemical components of chocolate affect the way we feel? Listen all the way through both. It will hurt, but imagine this is the only way you can use the web.

This first clip is of a typical, poorly designed web page: Inaccessible web page (3 minutes)

This second clip is of a page with much more accessible design: Accessible web page (4 minutes)

Post comments here about your experience.

21 Responses to “Listen to a web page in audio”

  1. Emma Says:

    Wow- I can’t believe how hard that was to listen to. After the inaccessible clip I was expecting the accessible clip to be much better, but even though a lot of unnecessary stuff was cut out it was still extremely hare to pay attention to. I realized I could understand the words that I already recognized but the unfamiliar chemical components, which was the entire point of the clip, were hard for me to understand. As a person who needs to hear a word pronounced very clearly or written down before I can understand it myself, these clips were very difficult. It is surprising that even thought we have the technology to make internet audio very clear these sites haven’t been updated. Most people would be completely unwilling to put up with that kind of quality.

  2. admin Says:

    The audio quality of those recording is not as good as the speech from JAWS. You’ll hear that on Tuesday. The intelligibility is higher, but it is still painful to listen to for long.

  3. maria Says:

    i wish i could answer the question on what chemical components of chocolate affect the way we feel but i couldn’t understand the answer through either of the clips. both were extremely hard to listen to, yet alone understand. the words in both clips combined together and it was hard to pick up an entire sentence. i thought the accessible clip would be better, but i felt that it was just as hard to understand as the inaccessible one. i could not imagine having to use this technology to do my homework with. after awhile i would want to throw my speaks across the room because of he terrible audio sounds. i wish there was a way to change the voice or sounds of this kind of technology, and i hope there is and i just dont know about it.

  4. Luke Says:

    I know the quality was pretty low, but that voice is just hard to understand. There is absolutely no rhythm. We have a natural flow in the English language that the text to speech engine just doesn’t have. I think that’s the worst part.

  5. Michele Says:

    The poor quality of the recording and the distracting recitation of the table cells made listening to that web page really difficult. When I was listening and I didn’t understand a part, in the back of my mind it didn’t matter because I knew I didn’t need to know the information. But for people who are listening to the web page for real, for homework or research, their listening comprehension must be exquisite. I know for me it is overwhelmingly easier to read something and understand it then to listen to someone. I can’t imagine only being about to experience the web, and much of the world for that matter, simply by what you hear. It was also hard to stay focused, because of the gaps between real information and the computer lingo. By the time the text would begin to be read again, I would have forgotten what the paragraph before was talking about!

  6. Katelyn Says:

    Listening to these audio clips were extremely frustrating. The first one was worse, I was very distracted by the frequent “table cell” announcements. The second site, though slightly better, was still hard to listen to. I agree with Luke in that the man’s voice was difficult to listen to. I can’t imagine having to learn massive amounts of information by listening to sites like those; I couldn’t even distinguish the compounds we were supposed to listen for.

  7. Kelly Says:

    Obviously, it was difficult to get anything out of the clips. This inefficiency was caused by two primary reasons. Firstly, the computer voice was hard to decipher, and when it is hard to simply decipher the words, it becomes nearly impossible to understand them. Secondly, the voice is always moving forward. Regardless of whether you comprehended the last paragraph, you must move forward. It is not possible to re-read like I could with a paper book. This is a major setback, and coupled with the first flaw I detailed, the accessible web page is anything but that.

  8. john Says:

    I didn’t read the decription before I downloaded the files, and I had no idea what was going on. Did the “text to speach” engine keep saying “damit”, or am I just crazy? The second clip was far more informative than the first one. What does “table data fill” mean? Just out of curiousity, is tar heel reader set-up like the the second clip? We should definatley try to make that site available for the blind. It seems like the software that reads the information from web sites out-loud is pretty out-dated. Is there no software that look at a normal website, and describe it in words?

  9. Gary Says:

    That’s what you’re hearing. A description of a web site in words. Some sites are much easier for the programs to read than others. The voice in those recordings is not as good as what you will hear on Tuesday.

  10. Alyssa Says:

    As everyone else has already stated, listening all the way through this, while at the same time feel as if you understood anything that was going on while you were listening is pretty much impossible. The language was very hard to decipher part because the constant breaks to explain the website language and part because the voice used was very hard to understand. It was very blurry sounding. Also, listening to the voice, was hard on its own, as it sounded so programmed that it was difficult to listen. Also, the constant breaks to explain what was going on, visually on the website, especially on the first website, made all of the sentences feel very choppy and therefore made achieving clarity understanding very difficult. It was definitely amazing to witness what some people have to deal with everyday.

  11. Stephen Says:

    So this was not something enjoyable to listen to.
    “It says chocolate has a bunch of chemicals that cause a persons body to react. Such substances include caffeine, the upper nine?, and can give a person a cardiovascular fix. Some scientists believe phenolyfyml and tylyml are the reasons for why people like chocolate.”

    Didn’t really understand much more than that. That was difficult understanding at all; I really don’t know how people can listen to that and still be able to understand what is happening. I need a visual aide of some sort to both keep my attention and for me to decipher and understand the words that are being said. Very Very difficult stuff.

  12. RJ Says:

    “…table data cell…
    …table data cell…
    …table data cell…
    …new paragraph.”

    I couldn’t imagine having to process the vast amount of information on the internet this way. Not only is it extremely inefficient and extremely slow, there’s no way to know right away if you’re even reading the correct page, which is definitely a huge hassle. We’ve all clicked on a page and ‘glanced’ at it really quickly realizing it’s not what we were looking for, and we’ve also all been victims of pop-ups before, so what would happen if a pop-up unexpectedly showed up on the screen? Would it begin reading that instead of the article it was previously reading???

    I closed my eyes and listened to both of the versions and overall, I definitely agree with everyone’s comments above. Even for the ‘accessible’ version about chocolate, it was still extremely difficult to understand what was being said (which could be a problem with this particular voice, but I couldn’t imagine it being much better with just a change in voices). Another thing that disappointed me was that it mentioned where there were “images”… but it didn’t even read any sort of caption for the image so it wasn’t even informative in any way whatsoever other than just telling a blind individual that they were missing out on something else. I just didn’t like that part at all because I just hate to think that so many people out there really do have such a hard time dealing with something that comes so natural and easy to me on a day to day basis.

  13. Taylor Says:

    This was very difficult to understand. I had difficulty understanding some of the words as the pronunciation was not very clear. In the first clip, I understood what the break, table, next line… and all of that was doing, it was trying to explain where you were on the page. I could not make out the exact word of why people like chocolate and why it gives them such a good feeling. I followed the plot line of the speeches, but it was still difficult to understand. Just like, stephen, I thought that a visual aid would have been helpful, but rightfully so, you are not allowed one. When I closed my eyes and tried to listen to it, it helped a little.

  14. ronald Says:

    It was rather excruciating to listen to. The obvious problem with this is that it seems the computer is saying everything that appears on the website but is not using punctuation in its speech. It all just seems like one long sentence. The audio was also hard to understand because the computer didn’t really pronounce the words: making it difficult to decipher what the computer is saying. Although a bit of a stretch, it would be really helpful if the computer didn’t speak in such a monotone voice. If expression was somehow incorporated it would make the listeners job that much easier to understand.

  15. Ethan Says:

    I had difficulty comprehending even the more accessibly designed clip. Although visually impaired individuals can obtain lots of information, they are still unable to see pictures and graphs which are essential parts of learning.

  16. allison Says:

    This has got to be frustrating to deal with for websites in general, but these especially for all the chemical names. The text-to-speech doesn’t recognize the chemical names and does its best to sound them out and run all the syllables together. The inaccessible article was awful to have to pay attention to each “new table row”, “table data cell”, “image”, “table data cell” over and over again only to suddenly realize you’ve tuned out some of the actual information, which is hard enough to understand. The “new paragraph” runs straight into the first word of the actual paragraph. The images could have been crucial charts or other explanatory information. It is overall pretty primitive.

  17. Sean Margison Says:

    That was ridiculously annoying, and I still didn’t gather any information from it. I was more worried about being annoyed by Microsoft Sam saying “table data cell” over and over and over and over again that I couldn’t focus on the words whenever he did finally reach them. Being blind is an unfortunate disability, but having to be tortured in such a terrible fashion is upsetting at best. The program was more worried about the encoding and structure than the words which is what the student would be worried about. Again, this is just proof of Microsoft’s inability to provide a great product in an attempt to put something out there. Not only was it annoying and long, but Microsoft Sam is in no way easy to understand, especially when interspersing formating with paragraphs.

  18. Madison Says:

    I found it very hard to listen to both of these sound clips. For me, it was very difficult to pick out when the voice was going from “table data cell…image” to actually reading the text that I was interested in reading. Therefore, I didn’t know when to start putting sentences together, because you have no idea where a new sentence begins; you have to process that information and not what is actually being said. The accessible one was much better than the inaccessible one, but not to the extent I expected it to be. I really didn’t like it that you have no idea what any of the images are and the reader doesn’t say anything about them except “image”. The way the accessible clip tells where a paragraph is starting and things is more helpful but there is still no way I could answer the question we were asked to try to answer from listening to the clip. This really gives me a whole new respect for anyone that has to use this any more than I had to.

  19. ebstone Says:

    The second link was a lot easier to understand than the first one. I can see how those visually impaired people can get frustrated at such things, as I experienced a lot of frustration myself. It is hard to understand the information in both, but the first one was ridiculous. Announcing images and table data cells repetitively threw me off and I was unable to concentrate.

  20. rainierw Says:

    After listening to these two websites, I honestly think that if I was blind I wouldn’t even begin to bother myself with trying to do anything online or on a computer because that first website was far too annoying to even stand. The constant “new table cell” “data table cell” “image” announcements were unnecessary and the monotone voice put me to sleep. Anyone who has the patience to listen to these kinds of websites everyday of their lives definitely has my respect and admiration.

  21. Brad Says:

    Wow that was crazy…i have never had so much trouble paying attention to something. I got really frustrated listenning to both of them. After struggling through the inaccesible i figured the accessible would be much easier but it really wasn’t, it was just as painful. I was really hard to understand and i feel like that could be one of the reasons a blind person would choose not to bother himslef witht the technology. Yes the technology is made for them but it is not normal and it puts forth a rather hard challenge for them to fit in

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