Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Can Your Blog Readers Find Your Hyperlinks?

Filed under: Blog Accessibility — by at 12:05 am on Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In the last web accessibility post, three tips were offered for making the content of hypertext links more usable. Today, consider the appearance of these links.  Can your blog readers easily spot your hyperlinks?

Which example below closest resembles your blog’s links?

Example #1: Links are indicated by colour only

Poorly indicated hyperlinks

In this screen shot, the link is indicated by a change in font colour. What if your readers have colour-blindness or low vision?

Colour should not be the only visual means of conveying information.

Example #2: Links are faintly underlined

Examples of faintly underlined hyperlinks

Can you spot the hyperlinks? Look closely. There are three of them, faintly underlined.

Example #3: Links are camouflaged by other coloured and underlined text

Example of poorly indicated hyperlink

In this screen shot, is the hyperlink the dark blue text, the red text with underline, or the black text with underline? Unless they hover their mouse over the different bits of text, how do your readers know where to click?

Example #4: Links are standard website blue

Hypertext links are blue with blue underline

In this screen shot, the hypertext links are standard website blue with blue underlining. Visited links become black text with black underlining – a nice feature so readers know which links they already followed.

Take a look at the hyperlinks in your blog posts. Are they easy to find? Or, do your readers need to hunt for them?

Additional resources:

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Are RDSPs Too Complicated for RBC Staff to Set Up?

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 10:53 pm on Monday, February 23, 2009

Last Thursday, Darrell and I finally set up our Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP) at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) – the second Canadian financial institution offering RDSPs.

We were less than impressed with the RBC’s financial guy. Had time been on our side, we would have waited a while until bank staff was more familiar with this product. And, maybe by then our primary financial institution VanCity would have been offering RDSPs.

But, because March 2, 2009, is the deadline for 2008 contributions and because Darrell had turned 49 – the last eligible year for the federal government’s matching funds the Canada Disability Savings Grant and the Canada Disability Savings Bond, we didn’t have the luxury of waiting.

We scraped together what cash we could without leaving ourselves too short. Then we were kicked in the gut when the guy said it wasn’t enough for the minimum for a Guaranteed Interest Certificate (GIC) or mutual funds; our only choice was a savings account at 0.1%. Are you serious? 0.1%?! What is the frigging point?

We need to wait until we’ve saved $1000 to buy a GIC at a slightly higher interest rate. I’m hoping the federal money will speed up reaching that goal.

After recovering from that kick, we asked what we thought was a fairly straightforward question: what happens to the RDSP if the one of us should die before the funds are completely withdrawn. We thought the guy’s head was going to explode! He had to call yet another colleague.

Unlike Registered Retirement Saving Plans where you can name a beneficiary, we need to do that in our wills. (Add write wills to our never-ending to-do list.)

Apparently, if the will is carried out within the first year after the death, then the beneficiary (named in the will) receives the full amount left in the fund. Otherwise, the federal government claws back the amount it contributed. Huh? (Checking the Canadian Revenue Agency information myself, it appears the federal money must be repaid.)

As for how much we can withdraw starting at age 60, we don’t know. The guy isn’t permitted to discuss that – “the formula is too complicated”. We would need talk to someone in the government.  Okay. Next question.

According to the RBC RDSP expert, the money from the federal government should be in our account within a few weeks. As for the British Columbia government’s incentive, he didn’t have a clue. He hadn’t heard about it. I was tempted to suggest that he sign up for the RDSP blog updates!

When it came time to depart with our precious cash, he said he couldn’t take it. What?? We are sitting in a bank’s office with umpteen measures of security and he can’t take our cash? Its even real cash, not our baggies of pennies. Are we on candid camera? We had to go to the teller to hand over our money.

We left the Royal Bank not knowing whether we had done the right thing, financially. Would we have been better off to put that money on our credit cards, on our mortgage, or in ING Direct at 2.3%. We don’t know.

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Celebrating a Newly Discovered Ability

Filed under: Living with a disability,Social Media — by at 7:48 pm on Saturday, February 21, 2009

Two weeks ago, David Wilcox kindly invited me to present at AccessCamp San Antonio – a discussion-based "unconference" on accessibility and user experience. His initial thought was to have me present via video through the internet calling software Skype.

The Challenge

Because of my speech impairment, video would not be an effective way for me to present. I needed a way to share my PowerPoint presentation, with audio, with the group located in San Antonio.

Also, because this event was on accessibility, I needed my presentation to be ultra accessible. I needed a way to caption the presentation for those participants who were Deaf and hard of hearing. A transcript would be provided for those who were deaf-blind.

The Result

With some mashing of technology and a few late nights, my husband and I found a way to share the PowerPoint presentation running on my computer, complete with audio and captions (yes!), using Skype and the free desktop sharing application Mikogo.

Donald offered this comment during the Q&A session on Skype, “your presentation was hard core, in the contra on sega genesis kind of way.” (I think that is good?!)

On Twitter, Jennifer Navarrete tweeted:

If you missed @glendawh's presentation to AccessCamp San Antonio from Vancouver, Canada via Skype, you really missed something amazing.

With minimal technical glitches, the presentation was a success!

The Implications

I can now offer live online presentations and webinars! Woohoo!

First, San Antonio, then…?! The possibilities are endless.

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Educating a Special Ed Teacher

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 5:19 pm on Monday, February 16, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, an Adelphi University student Tanya, who is studying to be a special education teacher, stopped by Do It Myself Blog and asked a few questions. Eager to influence special ed teachers while they are young, I offer the following responses.

What accommodations do you have make to minimize or eliminate your disability?

With my cerebral palsy, accommodations are more to work with or to work around my disability and to enhance my abilities, rather than to minimize or eliminate my disability.

I accommodate my disability In numerous ways, in nearly every aspect of my life, oftentimes without even thinking about it. I have several ways to accommodate my speech impairment, technology compensates for my slow typing speed, and an electric scooter gives me mobility

How do you feel about person first versus condition first terminology?

I prefer placing the person first, before the disability; hence, I use terms like people with disabilities, solopreneur with cerebral palsy, and business man who is sight impaired. This way the emphasis is on the individual rather than on the disability.

However, I feel there are disabled people in which their personhood or sense of being is broken or damaged. In my view, disabled people are different from people with disabilities. Disabled people may or may not have a disability per se.

Is there a positive aspect to your disability?

A positive aspect to my cerebral palsy? That really depends upon the day!

But seriously, without knowing the type of person I would have been had I not had a disability, I think my cerebral palsy has magnified my determination, persistence and creativity. Having cp has taught me to be open and accepting of differences and to try to accommodate those differences. It has taught me to flexible and to find possible solutions. I am continually learning patience and understanding.

Would you eliminate or cure your disability if you could?

Until recently, I viewed cerebral palsy similar to severing an arm: the brain is damaged,  it could not be repaired fully. I have never wished for or dreamed of completely eliminating cerebral palsy. I have, however, imagined what it might be like to have clear speech and what all I might accomplish if my speech was clearly understood.

Now, with all of the advances in science and technology, I am not so sure that a cure for cerebral palsy won’t be possible in the future; or, a way to minimize the effects of cerebral palsy.

As for whether I would take the pill or undergo the treatment to cure my cp, I honestly do not know. For the most part, I enjoy my life and am able to do much of what I would like to. Why would I want to change that? But, depending upon what was involved, I would opt for clear speech in a heartbreak!

For the young ones, a cure for cerebral palsy would be unbelievable. Imagine that human potential that could be unlocked!

For more insights on living life with cereal palsy, check out the interview I did with a Masters student in Applied Disability Studies. There was a follow-up interview too. 

Feel free to contribute to Tanya’s education by responding to her questions in a comment below or by responding on your blog and linking back to this post.

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Where Would I Be Without Technology?

Filed under: Living with a disability,Work — by at 4:56 pm on Thursday, February 12, 2009

What a week, technologically speaking!

Last week my beloved word prediction and completion software EZ Keys died unexpectedly. This software saves me a fair number of keystrokes. Without it, I type every single letter. My left shoulder is screaming, my arm is about to fall off, and my wrist wants to be put on ice for a week!

The tech support guy kindly offered to put a software replacement cd in express mail. That was a week ago! I understand times are tight and everything being cut back, but how long does mail from California to British Columbia take?

Meanwhile, I am using Microsoft Windows’ accessibility feature StickyKeys for holding down multiple keys at once. (To find StickyKeys and other handy accessibility tools in Windows XP, go to Start > Control Panel > Accessibility Options).

LetMeType words box i am also using the free word prediction software LetMeType. With some tweaking, Darrell was able to load my EZ Keys word list into LetMeType so that I wasn’t starting from scratch.

LetMeType isn’t as powerful as EZ Keys. I am missing the automatic space after the software finishes typing a word, the automatic capital after I type a period, and the shortcut keys for word suffixes. But, because the LetMeType word box doesn’t appear until after I type two or three letters, I can easily use the number keys and the characters above them – something I am constantly fighting with in EZ Keys. LetMeType is quickly learning my language, often showing word choices with two or more words. A nice little program available for free.

The keyconfig dialog box with the Close Window shortcut turned off Then last night, while writing a lengthy comment on Wendy Piersall’s post, I discovered that accidentally hitting Ctrl+shift+W in FireFox is deadly. Do not try this at home! The internet browser closes without any warning, regardless of what you were doing. This sent me searching for a way to turn off specific keyboard shortcuts in FireFox. I found a way to turn off shortcuts, eventually! This adds KeysConfig… to the Tools menu (or the shortcut is Ctrl+shift+F12). The list of possible keyboard shortcuts can then be modified.

Along the way, I discovered the FireFox Accessibility Extension, which I, of course, had to install. I suspect this toolbar will be useful in other projects that are in the works.

(I’ve yet to return to Wendy’s post to retype my comment. Sorry, Wendy.)

AccessCamp San AntonioAll of this is happening while I should be frantically preparing my presentation for San Antonio’s AccessCamp on February 21st. The plan is for me to present online to the group located in San Antonio and to use Skype’s text chat feature to answer questions. Right?!

Off to play with the free and easy-to-use screen sharing tool Mikogo and to learn how to add captions to a PowerPoint presentation…

I need chocolate!

How is your week going?

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