The BBC has news of an interesting report: Websites ‘failing’ disabled users
The key finding was that the group worst affected are those with visual impairments, and the article refers to the recent announcement that the British magazine New Statesman is going to be making its web pages available as speech using new software by Texthelp Systems.
The Microsoft Speech Application SDK ought to make it much easier for web developers to create web pages that support visually impaired users through the use of speech. I would like to think that at some point in the future all ASP.NET web developers considered adding speech controls to their pages to support accessibility.
One of our roadblocks right now, however, is that we don’t (yet) have an easy web download of our Speech Add-In for Internet Explorer available from the Microsoft web site, and the redistributable that comes with the SDK is rather large (it includes the speech recognition engine, even through it could use the built in engine in Windows XP ).
If you’d be interested in this as a more widely available installer for the Microsoft Speech Add-In, please leave me a comment and I’ll make sure it gets passed on to the appropriate people – we’re always looking for input to help us evaluate the importance of features like this.