Joe Clark: Media access

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Updated 2003.08.28

Comments on guidelines for accessible (talking) DVD/STB menus

In 2003, two sets of guidelines were released on the topic of making DVD and set-top-box (STB) menus accessible to blind and visually-impaired users. The documents you are reading are my comments on these guidelines. I’ve started off with the WGBH recommendations as they are long-awaited and more detailed.

  1. WGBH: “A Developer’s Guide to Creating Talking Menus for Set-Top Boxes and DVDs”

See also

Understanding the approach

Before readers accuse me of being “too critical,” understand that these comments are a deficiency report on the original published guidelines.

The approach here is similar to engineering documentation, where succeeding drafts produce deficiency reports, each of whose items is either corrected, ruled not to be a deficiency, or simply lived with until the next draft. The process recurs until collaborators have corrected or decided to live with every error.

This philosophy differs from a marketing approach, where we are required to accentuate only the positive. But documentation intended for developers requires a high standard. We need to fix mistakes, and to do that, we need to know what the mistakes are. Don’t take it personally.

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