Manuals as an audio book

In the latest version of Mac OS X, Apple has added screen reading technology to assist those with reduced vision. The feature is called "VoiceOver" and its manual, in PDF format, has been available for downloading from Apple for several months now. However, as might have already occurred to you, if you can't see very well it might be difficult to read a book. So, in addition to the PDF, you can download an "audio book" version of the manual.

Even if you're not sight-impaired, or a Mac user, it's worth taking a close look at both of these. There's a huge amount of contextually-sensitive information presented to the user, which you can see illustrated in the manual, and the book is a nice mix of reference and task-oriented documentation styles.

The audio recording, however, is literally a spoken-word version of the manual. Give it a listen, with your eyes closed, and see how well it might work for you. It's nice that the book is broken up into chapters, and the sound quality is excellent; the voice work done by a professional speaker. But, with an audio book, it's difficult to use for looking up a particular answer. That's a tough challenge, how would you solve it?

Posted: November 7, 2005 link to this item, Tweet this item, respond to this item