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Thread: How to get screen to read in elinks for the blind

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    7

    How to get screen to read in elinks for the blind

    Hi I have been trying to make the web usable for my Blind friend. We have the www open (elinks) but we do not know how to navigate and hear the text read off . we can get it to read menus and links but the text inbetween nothing.

    at some point the " . " key seem to read a line but not the rest while hitting del or insert to move up and down.

    just need a tip so that we can get started learning more. but without it reading the text thats hard.

  2. #2
    As someone who switched from Vanilla Debian to Knoppix due to vision loss and the Adriane variant of Knppix being the only viable blind man's distro I've found, I must say that, strangely enough, the graphical Firefox browser(rebranded to Iceweasel in Knoppix) is actually far more accessible than any text-mode browser I've tried(and I've tried a few). That said, 7.0.5 was the last public version of Knoppix where Iceweasel and Orca(the screenreader Adriane uses in graphical mode) worked out of the box. My experience with 7.2 has been that downgrading Orca and some of its dependencies(and the adriane-x package) is the most reliable fix(there is a hack mentioned on these forums that will make things work with the version of Orca pre-loaded in 7.2, but my experience is that it causes other problems in conjunction with my other customizations). If you want to try my fix in 7.2: Add Debian oldstable main to your /etc/apt/sources.list(I usually do this by copying the debian stable line and making he alteration) Downgrade(I use Aptitude): gnome-orca to 2.3 at-spi to 1.30 python-pyatspi to 1.30 adriane-x to 1.4 I'm hoping the problem found in 7.2 will be fixed with the next public release of an Adriane CD. Notes on naviagting web pages using Iceweasel and Orca: Up and down arrows read webpages line-by-line. left and right arrows read pages character-by-character. 1-6 on the number row will move the reading cursor to the next heading at that level. the h key will move the reading cursor to the next heading regardless of level. the t key will move the cursor to the beginning of the next table. Other letter keys will move the cursor to the next object of various types, but I've found these less useful. shift+any of the above mentioned navigation shortcuts will move backwards. Ctrl+Pageup/Page Down moves to the previous/next tab(and this works even without orca) Ctrl+Enter will open the highlighted link in a new background tab. ctrl+shift+enter will open a link in a new tab and switch to it immediately. I will warn you: Javascript elements tend to trip-up Orca and Orca can't do anything with Flash. For these reasons, I recommend having NoScript block everything that doesn't provide vital functionality. Also, even with scripts blocked, some fancy page layouts confuse Orca. Going to View > Page Style > No Style can make some webpages easier for Orca to navigate.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    7
    Jeffery, Thank you for your time that was very informative i am going to go over what you said. i am still using the Adian knoppix and will attempt to use what I have learned form you. Do you do any podcasting or watch youtube if so what do you use?

  4. #4
    Junior Member registered user
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    22

    ADRIANE WWW/elinks instructions

    Quote Originally Posted by cp1 View Post
    Hi I have been trying to make the web usable for my Blind friend. We have the www open (elinks) but we do not know how to navigate and hear the text read off . we can get it to read menus and links but the text inbetween nothing.

    at some point the " . " key seem to read a line but not the rest while hitting del or insert to move up and down.

    just need a tip so that we can get started learning more. but without it reading the text thats hard.
    elinks is a very fast and complex text web browser, also capable of javascript, cookies and other things that are required by some web pages in order to access them. From the beginners point of view, elinks is easier to learn and work with than firefox, but of course it's also different (different hotkeys, menus, functions) due to its text-centric nature.

    By default, the screenreder profile for elinks in ADRIANE is set to read only the "highlighted" texts in elinks. This is:

    1. hyperlinks, which you can quickly browse through by the arrow-up and arrow-down key,
    2. form fields: The "text field" is initially silent, bit once you enter it with the "enter" key, everything you type is read as entity (i.e. is completely read, not spelled, when it's finished).


    Using the arrow keys lets you hop between links, using the "page down" and "page up" keys lets you page through the website. The text in between links or beginning/end of page can be read using the keyboard combinations which work in ALL programs in ADRIANE text mode. They are listed in the short help (which is the first entry in the ADRIANE menu):

    CapsLock Space Read current line
    CapsLock PageUp Read from beginning of page to current line
    CapsLock PageDown Read from current line to end of page
    CapsLock ArrowUp Read line above
    CapsLock ArrowDown Read line below
    CapsLock ArrowLeft Read left character (spell)
    CapsLock ArrowRight Read right character (spell)

    Usually you discover the page layout using CapsLock+Arrow, where reading the full text is rather done with the CapsLock Page* key combination. Since most of the navigation is done by jumping through links (just using ArrowUp/ArrowDown) with just the link text being read, elinks talks less than firefox but is quicker in navigation.

    The "." key you mentioned, turns on the meta descriptions for form fields in elinks, yo text input fields, menus etc. are prefixed by comments that explan which type of form field you are at.

    elinks has lots of own key combinations, which are listed in the elinks menu. Once I find the time, I'll write a full description.

  5. #5
    Junior Member registered user
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Germany
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffery Mewtamer View Post
    As someone who switched from Vanilla Debian to Knoppix due to vision loss and the Adriane variant of Knppix being the only viable blind man's distro I've found, I must say that, strangely enough, the graphical Firefox browser(rebranded to Iceweasel in Knoppix) is actually far more accessible than any text-mode browser I've tried(and I've tried a few). That said, 7.0.5 was the last public version of Knoppix where Iceweasel and Orca(the screenreader Adriane uses in graphical mode) worked out of the box. My experience with 7.2 has been that downgrading Orca and some of its dependencies(and the adriane-x package) is the most reliable fix(there is a hack mentioned on these forums that will make things work with the version of Orca pre-loaded in 7.2, but my experience is that it causes other problems in conjunction with my other customizations). If you want to try my fix in 7.2: Add Debian oldstable main to your /etc/apt/sources.list(I usually do this by copying the debian stable line and making he alteration) Downgrade(I use Aptitude): gnome-orca to 2.3 at-spi to 1.30 python-pyatspi to 1.30 adriane-x to 1.4 I'm hoping the problem found in 7.2 will be fixed with the next public release of an Adriane CD. Notes on naviagting web pages using Iceweasel and Orca: Up and down arrows read webpages line-by-line. left and right arrows read pages character-by-character. 1-6 on the number row will move the reading cursor to the next heading at that level. the h key will move the reading cursor to the next heading regardless of level. the t key will move the cursor to the beginning of the next table. Other letter keys will move the cursor to the next object of various types, but I've found these less useful. shift+any of the above mentioned navigation shortcuts will move backwards. Ctrl+Pageup/Page Down moves to the previous/next tab(and this works even without orca) Ctrl+Enter will open the highlighted link in a new background tab. ctrl+shift+enter will open a link in a new tab and switch to it immediately. I will warn you: Javascript elements tend to trip-up Orca and Orca can't do anything with Flash. For these reasons, I recommend having NoScript block everything that doesn't provide vital functionality. Also, even with scripts blocked, some fancy page layouts confuse Orca. Going to View > Page Style > No Style can make some webpages easier for Orca to navigate.
    Orca and Firefox weren't working together for quite a while in ALL Linux distros, until the bug was discovered: It was simply an unexpected location of libraries, which is being fixed by symlinking /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/gtk-2.0 to /usr/lib/gtk-2.0.

    As of Knoppix 7.4.0 the problem is already fixed, so firefox will talk again with orca, either standalone or from the full graphical environment with LXDE.

    You can start it from the ADRIANE menu (boot option "adriane" or "adriane64") or from the graphical boot with orca activated (boot option "knoppix orca" or "knoppix64 orca").

  6. #6
    Senior Member registered user
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    May 2006
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by knopper View Post
    ...elinks has lots of own key combinations, which are listed in the elinks menu. Once I find the time, I'll write a full description.
    Klaus K would appreciate volunteer HOWTO contributions concerning Adriane (as well as other Knoppix) setup and usage details.

  7. #7
    Good to hear 7.4 has Orca and Firefox working together out of the box. Just need a new Adriane CD to be released in iso format(The cheat codes aren't really useful since one needs to boot in one of the screen reader modes before speech is active). As for YouTube, the HTML 5 player works just fine with Orca 2.3, though I sometimes have to use Insert+S to temporarily disable speech to keep orca from talking over the videos(this is best done right before activating a video link as Orca's response time tends to slow on video pages). Sadly, I have not found any reliable method for forcing YouTube to use the HTML5 player short of not having Flash installed, and most other video streaming sites require flash. Other than the player itself, however, many parts of YouTube are overly complicated and don't work well with Orca, though this might not be the case with newer versions of Orca.

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