As a blind user of both Stack Overflow and Server Fault I was wondering if any thought has been given to making the sites more accessible? Most things work well enough such as asking and answering questions, but some things are not accessible such as upvoting comments. It would also be nice if there were headings or another quick way to jump from answer to answer.
It's extremely difficult for us to judge a site's accessibility. I'd say the thing to do is to outline the problems you've observed in good detail, and post each one as a separate question on Meta Stack Exchange.
Good point. Too often we forget about the visually-impaired. I spent a couple months working on revamping a client's website after spending 10 or so minutes on the phone with a man who uses jaws to surf the web.
I was just wondering about this as I was trying to manipulate parts of SO pages in conkeror and having some troubles due to the markup that is used in places, particularly in comments. I installed a screen reader, but must confess I don't know anything about them so I couldn't really judge how well it worked. The general idea of making things more usable in a screen reader seems fairly straight forward however. As John Topley pointed out, Dive into Accessibility is a pretty quick read that points out easy ways to improve in this area, such as adding summaries to tables.
Only a "read out loudly" feature would not be sufficient (though it is necessary one).
To make the site friendly to blinds / people with severe visual impairment / deaf-blinds peoples; it needs something more.
You'll need also a
sound indicator, when the mouse pointer enters at a definite field / icon / button. In cases of toolbar, icons, buttons, hyperlinks you need to read-out loud the name of button.
accessibility to a vibrator, in cases of a phone/ any other gadget provide a vibration system. It would work similar as sound-indicators of icons, buttons and borders.
audio guide for all help articles, notifications, warnings etc.
tutorial links about Braille, especially for guides/ companions/ parents/ teachers of the blind or deaf-blind person.
Also for normal monitor, each paragraph (English) along with a Braille transcript (printable in normal printer) especially for guides/ assistants/ parents/ teachers of the blind person, to assist better.
Those who do not want these features; would be able to turn off or on it.
Agree; the responsibility is not much of SE-network; but the responsibilities go more to the browser and system-softwares publishers and hardware manufacturers to make the entire Earth more disabled friendly; but SE developers may keep a concern to design the site with additional supports and increased hardware access capability.