Accessibility tester for SuttaCentral Voice: Can you help?

As many of you will know, in recent months @karl_lew has done amazing work building a voice reader app for SuttaCentral making it even easier to explore the suttas.

The app has incredible value to offer all sorts of folks, but one of the primary motivations Karl had when initiating the project was to help visually impaired and blind people access the suttas. SCVoice is almost ready for its version 1 release, and ahead of that it would be great if there were any English-speaking blind or visually impaired people interested in trying it out to see if there are any accessibility issues that can be smoothed out.

If you, or someone you know, would like to give it a whirl, the 0.9.0 version can be found here:

You’re very welcome to reply in this thread or send me a PM.

Thanks. :slight_smile: :anjal:


Please consider that the vast majority of its users are likely not to be visually impaired as well

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Well, of course, you’re very likely right that most users will be sighted, but in what way do you think that point should be considered?

Trying to make things accessible to those who are not isn’t really negated by this detail. By way of comparison, the majority of public transport users are not in wheelchairs, but I’m still proper glad about efforts made in recent years in London to facilitate wheelchair users to travel around the city.


Just wondering if it’s possible to have a black /white background toggle that’s all.

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It’s on the wish list but not really relevant for this thread.

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I wasn’t able to figure out how to control the speed of playback.

I wonder if people who are blind would want to use this service over their normal screen reader that they use to navigate the rest of the web. It might be good to give priority to making sure that the main Sutta Central website is easy to navigate with a screen reader.

I found this example of how fast someone with visual impairments might be listening. After the first few seconds he slows it back down. But people who use screen readers full time tend to listen super fast. Now, for listening to suttas they may want to listen more slowly. But I’m guessing that even then there would be the need to skim through parts more quickly than others.


Yeah, this is a really important point, and really something to consider for UI design. Much thanks for this and info/link.

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That’s good to know. I can’t expect bells and whistles… :bell: :notes:


You might want to post this request to some on-line forums that cater to folks who are visually impaired/blind. might be of use.

Sorry if this doesn’t fall under accessibility testing, but it would make sense to have a link to a page with other sutta audio book resources. You could take the links from this page, for example.

Also not strictly under accessibility, but to be discovered by folks, blind or sighted, you might want to include “Sutta Audio Book” in the page titles or description.

Also not strictly accessibility, but there may be a subset of newly visually impaired/elderly who would need to have someone download audio recordings for them, so if there was a way to generate mp3’s that might be useful.

I may not be understanding correctly what is being asked for, but screen contrast is something that does relate to accessibility. It could be that people with visual impairments would have their own way to control contrast, though.

Freecodecamp has a good unit on accessability:


Brilliant! Again, much thanks!

Yes, on the list of possibilities. I’ve reached out to a UK charity for blind and partially sighted people and will also look at other options.

Again, yes, this has already come up in the main SCV thread and something important to look into, but only after the release of v1.

Awesome! I love FreeCodeCamp!

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I test with ChromeVox screen reader with my eyes closed. SCV is tuned for use with screen readers and the blind should be able to whip through the pages in zero time. I am recently going blind, so my skills are not up to theirs. One of the toughest challenges in the design has been to make the site usable by the recently blind but not annoying to the blind technology adepts. This is why we are reaching out to those in the blind community to give us feedback on how well we have eliminated speed bumps for the blind. Indeed, I hope we can eventually have a site where any blind user can search the suttas with the same speed as any of us.

Yes indeed. The current hypothesis is that Raveena will prove sufficient. Raveena does not speak as rapidly as screen readers can. However, any blind user can download an MP3 of a sutta for listening at different speeds.

One of the toughest challenges has been to winnow search results down to a few key suttas. The blind cannot skim search results as we can, even with fast screen readers. SCV gives blind users a very short list of up to 25 search results, with the default limit set at 5. This technology relies entirely on Bhante Sujato’s key insight to introduce text segments. Searching text segments, we can quickly and accurately provide pertinent search results. Later this year I will document the search methodology for review so that we can all be certain that searches do not misrepresent the teachings of the Buddha. It may be possible to offer similar concise results on SC itself, but that will take a concerted effort.

Absolutely. When sighted I preferred black on white. Going blind, I prefer white on black. SCVoice is dedicated to the dark and bound for light.


Here’s another one about darkness & light! :sun_behind_small_cloud: :smile:



:new_moon: :waxing_crescent_moon: :full_moon: :waning_crescent_moon: X many…

Ever fascinated by and keen to learn about accessibility I subscribe to a newsletter that periodically delivers me all sorts of interesting articles around the area. Just now I was reading from one such offering and came across this thoroughly charming (and highly Dhamma-esque) quote that gives a rather good perspective on the matter:

You’re only ever temporarily not disabled. [By designing accessibily y]ou might be designing for your future self. (Riggins)

By the by, still seeking testers… :nerd_face:


Can you share a link to that newsletter, please?


Well, I guess really it might better be described as a ‘headlineletter’: In fact, the author calls them “Reading lists”; and as you’ll see there’s also material on eg web standards, general web news and so on, but always some valuable material on web accessibility.

I just added it as a RSS feed in my email client.


Unfortunately I have no idea what this means… :astonished: :thinking:


:blush: I use an application called Thunderbird to receive my email (so that’s the “email client” part). RSS stands for “Rich Site Summary”, but I don’t understand it enough to give a good explanation; fortunately there is Wikipedia! :relieved:

Roughly speaking though, by adding a feed address ( in this case—subscription addresses/options are found of tonnes of sites via an icon that looks something like this: image ) in Thunderbird, I can get updates delivered to me.

However, it is just as good to simply check the site from time to time if you’re not as lazy and distracted as I can be! :heart_eyes_cat:


Thank you a lot for your explanation, Aminah! Will have a look at it—and will see how “lazy” I am in this respect… :blush:


But looking at the website, this is all developer stuff, and I guess way over my head anyway… so I might leave this to you. :innocent: :wink: