Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Your Accessibility Conscience

Traveling with Autism

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 3:09 pm on Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Glenda at Vancouver Airport, waiting to board plane to Las Vegas Having returned from Las Vegas last Monday and heading to Castlegar this Friday, traveling with a physical disability is possible, even though extra considerations are necessary. Airline staff and fellow travelers, for the most part, are understanding and willing to assist when required. God willing, I reach my destination.

However, for people with invisible disabilities, such as autism, the need for assistance and accommodation is not obvious. Even with all of the preparations in place, a trip may still need to be aborted at the last moment like Barbara Hines’ heart-wrenching story about trying to go on a well-deserved and much-needed family vacation. As Barbara shares in her story, fellow travelers can do much in assisting when traveling with an autistic child. An understanding smile can go a long way in easing the stress of a beleaguered parent facing a sea of judging eyes.

With the incidence of autism on the rise, more and more individuals with autism will be traveling. If you are a frequent traveler, these tips may assist you the next time a stressed out individual needs compassion. If you are a parent, these tips may assist you in preparing for a tip with your child with autism.

These tips are merely a starting point. Feel free to share your tips for traveling with a disability in a comment below.

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How WordPress Has Changed My Life

Filed under: Blogging, Living with a disability — by Glenda at 10:09 pm on Saturday, September 27, 2008

Earlier today, Lorelle VanFossen, my new found friend from BlogWorld, delivered WordCamp Portland’s keynote on how WordPress is changing lives. At Lorelle’s insistent request, I whipped up this video for her keynote. Enjoy!

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Creating the Celebrity Experience for All Customers

Filed under: Accessibility 100, Virtual Book Tour — by Glenda at 12:36 pm on Saturday, September 27, 2008

Accessibility 100

Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming Donna Cutting, author of newly released The Celebrity Experience: Insider Secrets to Delivering Red Carpet Customer Service, on her Celebrity Experience Blog Tour. Her book is about providing quality service to all customers. Here she shares her advice when serving customers with disabilities:

The Celebrity Experience: Insider Secrets to Delivering Red-Carpet Customer Service by Donna Cutting When Glenda invited me to write a guest post about providing customer service to people with disabilities, I was honored. Then, I was nervous. While providing a red-carpet customer experience is my area of expertise, I would never presume to call myself an expert on the American Disabilities Act, accessibility, or the various needs of people living with disabilities.

Perhaps that’s why I am the perfect person to write this post! Because even with my years of past experience in the field of elder-care, and working with people who have developmental disabilities, I am smart enough to know that I know very little. My guess is that most service professionals are in the same boat – they may know even less.

Yet, they meet people living with disabilities every day. They’re called customers.

I recall this incident which I wrote about in The Celebrity Experience: Insider Secrets to Delivering Red-Carpet Customer Service:

A few months ago, I was in the airport riding on a shuttle from one concourse to another. The shuttle was full of people, and behind me was a party of three – two airport employees and one woman who was in a wheelchair. One of the employees was apparently escorting the woman in the wheelchair to her gate and like me, they were taking the shuttle to get there. While they rode, the two employees carried on a loud conversation with each other about another employee and how she had refused to ‘do wheelchairs.’ “I’m sick and tired of doing wheelchairs,” one of them said. “Why should I have to do all the wheelchairs when she gets out of it?” “I know,” the other one exclaimed. “I’ve pushed three wheelchairs already today, and I’m just going to refuse from now on.” Wow. I didn’t know what to do, quite frankly. I couldn’t believe they were having this conversation right in front of this woman, without regard to her feelings at all. I looked at the woman in the wheelchair and smiled at her. She smiled back and lifted her shoulders in resignation. I refrained from commenting, thinking the woman had already been embarrassed enough. But I wonder if I made a mistake. Someone should have called those young women on their behavior.

Here’s what I think Managers can do to ensure that EVERYONE – including those living with disabilities – gets red-carpet treatment from their employees.

  1. Hire people who have the sensitivity to treat people with kindness. If someone is going to be serving your customers, kindness should be in the job description.
  2. Learn everything you can about the American Disabilities Act and accessibility laws. Ensure that everyone on your team has this information. Learn how to reframe your language when discussing people who have disabilities. For instance, that airport employee wasn’t “doing wheelchairs.” She was escorting a PERSON who uses a wheelchair.
  3. Provide exceptional, ongoing training on the needs of your customers living with disabilities – to ensure that they are given red-carpet treatment – and that their unique needs are met with their dignity intact.
  4. Hold your team accountable for their actions! Do not tolerate employees who treat unkindly, condescendingly, or without dignity.

©2008, Donna Cutting

Portions of this blog post are excerpted from The Celebrity Experience: Insider Secrets to Delivering Red Carpet Customer Service (Wiley, 2008) by Donna Cutting. Used by permission only.

This book excerpt was part of a blog tour brought to you by Key Business Partners.

Yesterday, the blog tour stopped at these locations:

Today, this is celebrated also at these blogs:

And tomorrow, it will continue to be celebrated at these blogs:

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Live from BlogWorld – Final Day

Filed under: General — by Glenda at 4:52 pm on Sunday, September 21, 2008

Another awesome day in Vegas! Operating on minimal sleep…my own bed tomorrow.

Great keynote w/ Tim Ferris – details later.

My Blog is a Business?

  • Chris Brogan,  Jeremy Wright, Rob McNeally, Nina Yablok
  • write to your customer – what’s in it for me
  • think less, plan less, do more
  • embrace social/new media
  • work our ass off!
  • biz plan – what, why, how, where, when from blogger and reader/payor side
  • the minute you take $ from someone, you’ve sold out – be ok w/ it!
  • be ready to spend money, i.e. for cpa/lawyer
  • develop rel’ships w/ people who can help grow your biz
  • community is huge
  • clients will always pay more than you ask for!
  • make more w/ elearning/consulting than w/ ebooks

Book Deals, Digital Assets and Corporate Sponsorships

  • get an agent! tough
  • platform – how well known, public profile – blogging & soc media to leapfrog platform building
  • [note to self:  follow @chrisweb]
  • [note to self: check out BuzzCorps]
  • w/ corps easier to go for big $ – perceived value
  • our knowledge/experience is valuable to someone

The Stats of High Performance Content & Marketing

  • Liz Straus, Lorelle VanFossen, John Pozadzides
  • google analytics underestimate stats by 11%
  • question everything!
  • generlizations: trafficc is a good thing – want right traffic; lower bounce rates are better – not accurate; need to redo homepage
  • use descriptive titles, use related links
  • use stats to see NOW  what’s working
  • take action on popular posts – they’re landing pages
  • more traffic = more responsibility = writer’s block
  • don’t force readers to register to comment!!!
  • design for mobile users
  • pay attention to people, not the traffic

Getting Customer Buy In & Managing Client Relationships

  • Des Walsh, Robyn Tippins, Rich Brooks, Toby Bloomberg
  • blogs open doors and create warm leads

Brain fried. Thumb tired. Home tomorrow. Catch you later.

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New Venture Embraces an Internet Accessible to All

Filed under: Advocacy, I'll Do It Myself: The Book, Living with a disability — by Glenda at 9:30 am on Sunday, September 21, 2008

Screen shot of findanyfloor.com In today’s guest post, Damien Patton shares a speech he recently gave at a college explaining why his company has chosen to embrace and push accessibility standards on the web:

Hello Everyone,

I’m Damien Patton, founder and CEO of FindAnyFloor.com, the Web’s Flooring Authority. I am often asked why I created an information portal for the floor covering industry. My answer usually surprises everyone as it is not what people expect.

Last year, in the summer of 2007 I was lying in bed searching the internet for ideas for my next venture. For whatever reason I came upon WebMD.com. Those of you not familiar with WebMD, it is a FREE medical resource for consumers and physicians alike. Coming from both a high tech and floor covering industry background, it immediately dawned on me, Where is the WebMD of Flooring. I spent the next couple of months searching the internet with a team of professionals to discover what type of floor covering information was on the internet and how it was presented to consumers as well as floor industry professionals. It soon became clear that there was a large void of unbiased, free information, on the internet for flooring consumers and professionals in one central place. In order to find a lot of information, you have to go through dozens of sites and most of the time the sites contradict one another.

The idea for FindAnyFloor.com was born.

Although the above was the catalyst for the idea, it is certainly not what propelled us to who we are today, and this is where we surprise a lot of people. While researching this site I met a woman at a high tech trade show who was disabled through complications during birth, resulting in mobility and speech disabilities. She just so happened to be selling a book that she had written called “I’ll Do It Myself.” Not only did I buy the book, I went down stairs in the convention center and read it in one sitting. I may have missed a few of the trade show classes, but the book gave me one of the most valuable educations I ever received. I, like many people, had no idea the limitations the internet has with regard to people with disabilities. Those of us that are not disabled may take for granted that we are able to search most sites without issue, and at our own pace. Can you imagine if buildings no longer had handicapped facilities such as restrooms, ramps, elevators, & hand rails? I couldn’t either. But this is exactly what most of the internet is like for those with certain types of disabilities.

Imagine a world where you can’t read what’s on the web, you can’t hear the sounds from video files, you can’t navigate through menu’s to other parts of the site; you have just experienced what the majority of websites operate like to those with visual, hearing and mobility disabilities.

The US Government has a standard for their websites that they must be accessible to everyone. This standard is called 508. Although this standard doesn’t apply to non-government related commercial websites on the internet today, I feel strongly that more has to be done to make the internet accessible to all. This is why FindAnyFloor.com is committed to becoming 508 compliant by the end of 2008. It is our goal that others in the online flooring community will take note of the 60 million people in America alone that have some type of disability that may affect the way they use the internet.

From the floor covering industry we are planning to launch a large green living website that incorporates all types of eco friendly building materials as well as items used in everyday life. Our mission will be to create to the largest green site for consumers that will be accessible to all, again hoping that others in that industry will follow suit. It would be great if the concept of creating accessible websites became viral. In the next 5 five years, let’s hope we are looking at a whole new internet, one that is created for everyone and is accessible to everyone.

Glenda’s note: I love when people get the need for web accessibility! If things go according to plan, I will be meeting Damien and some of his team at BlogWorld today. And I’m looking forward to working with him to ensure FindAnyFloors.com and other projects are Section 508 compliant. (See, the trip to Vegas was a business trip!)

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