If a participant in your correspondence is using a screen reader, make sure you use a chat client that is compatible with a screen reader. The screen reader should identify the sender of a given message, read text from incoming messages, and inform the chatter where to input messages.
Hint: If you are working with a blind user, ask that person what he or she would recommend. Some clients which are reported to be compatible with JAWS or screen zoomers include Skype, MSN Messenger and AIM (some limitations may exist).
When using online communication technology such as an online chat, a blog or a threaded discussion message board, or e-mail, be sure to describe any ASCII art, attachments, or audio/visual files that are referenced.
Accessible CMC Passage
Sample Message Board Assignment
Assignment: By Friday, send me your thoughts on the lion image above for the "Tracking the Lion" logo. This image is a realistic male African lion in profile. Should the mascot be changed? Why or why not?
NOTE: This description is also useful for students who cannot see an image attachment or image file online for technical reasons.
A Note about ASCII Art in E-Mail Signatures
Many e-mail programs allow users to add a custom signature line, and many people
like to incorporate ASCII art (the use of punctuation symbols and letters to
simulate an image), such as the ASCII Nittany Lion below.
Inaccessible ASCII Art Image
This image is a .GIF file, but if it were true ASCII art, a screen reader would say:
"Left parenthesis, quote, acute accent, dash, quote, backslash, quote, right parenthesis…"
If your signature line includes ASCII art, then make sure it is placed
below all the essential contact information so users of screen readers
can stop reading the content once they come to the ASCII art.