Problems with Screen Readers in General and Particularly when Insert Is on
I am using two screen readers in Win 9x Supernova and in Win 2k Narrator. Supernova isn't free and generally does a lot better job of reading what's happening on the screen.
I have noticed Supernova works just fine in NoteTab Pro apart from one exception. When you turn insert key on, the insertion mode (or whatever) is indicated by replacing the cursor with a selection that toggles on and off. This is bad policy considering accessibility as this method draws the focus of the screen reader away and when I move over say letter a and have the insert key on, it will just read "select a", "de-select a" etc... Could the method of notifying users that insert is on be changed to something more screen reader friendly? Not that it bothers me that much, it's a minor issue anyway.
Hmm, maybe editing the blinking rate of the cursor to make it non-blinking would help, as in that case the selection would be always on rather than changing constantly. Maybe it won't then steel the focus as it usually does. I'll do some reg-editing and let you know if this non-blinking cursor helped or not.
However, I have also tried NoteTab Pro under win 2k with Narrator and it doesn't work. It reads menus as expected if you turn off the icons but it won't read the text. It doesn't read anything while writing or while reading text in the standard NoteTab could I say text box. It just keeps saying "end of line" (regardless of the cursor position) if I try to read the text one character at a time.
I have concluded NoteTab doesn't use the standard Windows text control. Narrator will read the contents of standard text boxes fine, it works in regular Notepad and in dialogs, too.
Can anything be done to improve the accessibility with poor, free screen readers such as Narrator, or do I have to contact the authors of the program and ask for a fix? BTW: Narrator won't work in IE or in OE properly, so NoteTab definitely isn't the only program causing problems with Narrator.