Preferred communication channel for accessibility for blind readers?

Hi there,

I am an admin of , the Discourse instance of the community around the OCaml programming language. We migrated away from mailing-lists to Discourse a few years ago and are generally very happy, but we get accessibility-related feedback from blind OCaml users for which Discourse is a regression compared to mailing-lists.

A blind user of the OCaml community, Sébastien Hinderer, offered to report on some of these issues and hopefully iterate with Discourse developers to get the interface fixed where possible. However, Sébastien would rather not use discourse-through-the-web-interface to do this, precisely because it is painful to use. I am created this topic on his suggestion, to check what would be the preferred communication channel for this. In particular, could we start an email thread about this, where?

  1. Discourse has an accessibility page that recommends writing to an email address, Is this our best bet?
  2. Previous discuss threads on screen-reader accessibility received feedback from @awesomerobot and @sam. Should we consider cc:-ing them directly as well? (I can’t find an email address for @awesomerobot easily)

Preview of potential feedback topics

On the basis of my discussions with blind users, here are two issues that come up:

  1. Learning the web interface for a new, complex website is exhausting, so some of them are really happy when learning that a mailing-list mode is available, because they are already familiar and comfortable with mailing-lists. (OCaml is a technical community where people are comfortable with email.) But then they point out that reaching “Discourse as a mailing-list” requires creating an account and activating the mailing-list mode through the web interface, and this is in fact not so easy. I understand that they would like to ensure that this minimal workflow is as easy as reasonably possible. (Actually, I wonder if it would be possible to provide a dedicated accessibility-oriented registration page/form. But this may not be necessary.)

  2. Is it possible to create a new topic from the mailing-list mode? I cannot find any information online about this, and this would be important for blind users if they want to rely on the mailing-list mode.

(I suspect that (2) either has a very simple answer, or in fact requires non-trivial technical development, so it may not be appropriate for a feedback loop with a prospective users. I would expect the conversation to rather focus on (1).)

Thanks for this very nice software!


Yep! that’s why the email address exists — everyone on our team can access it.

Linking someone directly to the signup, for example may help… any suggestions for improving the current account creation form would be welcome (what would a dedicated accessibility oriented signup form change ideally?)

Yes it’s possible, but must be configured per-category or per-group, there’s a guide here: