Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Listening To The Web Through A Mobile Lens

The similarities between Web access issues faced by mobile users and those confronting eyes-free Web browsing are striking, and these similarities have often been used to advocate the creation of well-structured, accessible Web content. As an example of mobile-friendly content being a blessing for eyes-free spoken access to WebFormation, Emacspeak provides a mobile lens via the Google Mobile transcoder.

Here are a few convenient means of using the above within the Emacspeak Audio Desktop:

  • While browsing the Web using w3, press t on a link (command: emacspeak-w3-transcode-via-google) to view that link through the mobile transcoder.
  • Note that all links in the resulting mobile view automatically go through the transcoder.
  • To undo the effect of automatically viewing links in the mobile view through the transcoder, use t with a interactive prefix argument i.e., press C-u t to follow a link to view it in its original form.
  • Additionally, I bind command emacspeak-wizards-google-transcode to a convenient key so that I can launch Web sites using the mobile view.

I use this tool on a regular basis while commuting to work to browse mainstream news sites, it provides speech-friendly content that has the added benefit of downloading fast over a wireless link --- after all, this is Mobile content.