Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

The Left Thumb Blogger is off to WordCamp

Filed under: Blog Accessibility, Blogging — by Glenda at 1:24 pm on Monday, August 10, 2009

Saturday, August 22nd, I am off to camp; WordCamp, that is.

“What is WordCamp?” you ask.

Great question! According to The WordCamp Report, a WordCamp “is a 1 or 2 day conference for WordPress users and developers. The focus is on how to be a better blogger, on the development and future of WordPress, and other topics of interest.”

View of SFU Surrey from myy home office window WordCamps take place in places around the world. This particular camp, WordCamp Fraser Valley, is being held at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus (SFU Surrey) – mere blocks from home. I can even see it from my home office window. No transportation hassles this time – woohoo!

I’m not only attending WordCamp, I’ll also be joining the line-up of local speakers by presenting “How POUR is Your Blog? Tips for Increasing Your Blog’s Accessibility”. This presentation rocked SOBCon: Biz School for Bloggers in Chicago back in May!

If you’re anywhere near the vicinity of SFU Surrey on August 22nd and if you blog or are considering blogging, come join us for WordCamp Fraser Valley. Tickets are still available.

Hope to see you at camp!

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What Makes a Blog Theme Accessible?

Filed under: Blog Accessibility — by Glenda at 2:23 pm on Thursday, August 6, 2009

For the past several months, I have been itching for a new theme (design and layout) for my blog. This theme is not as accessible as it should be. The code doesn’t validate and other accessibility features are lacking – and this is really frustrating me, given what I do when I’m sure not blogging.

I have tweaked this theme as much as possible without knowing any PHP programming. Learning to design my own themes is definitely on my to-do list, eventually. Until then, I need a theme that is more accessible – accessibility is a continuum, not an absolute – than this one.

I’ve searched and searched for accessible WordPress themes, with very little success. Then I began thinking, “What is an accessible theme? What criteria should a theme meet and what features should a theme have to be considered ‘accessible’?“

Before an accessible theme can be designed, the necessary requirements must be identified. Here’s a list that instantly came to mind:

  • The code validates with no errors.
  • A fluid design that displays correctly at different resolutions and on various monitors from large screens to small handheld devices.
  • Maximized colour contrast between the text and background to enhance readability.
  • Relative sized fonts, rather than fixed size, enabling readers to increase font size when needed.
  • “skip to content” and/or “skip to navigation” features to assist those using screen readers and keyboards to navigate the page more easily.
  • An attractive layout and design with plenty of white space.

However, this list is only a beginning. Allow this post to spark a discussion between blog readers with various disabilities, theme designers, web accessibility gurus, and whomever else is interested. Share your ideas and thoughts on:

  • What an “accessible” theme means to you?
  • What features does an accessible theme need to have?
  • What features would be nice to have?
  • What do theme designers need to know about creating accessible themes?
  • What questions do theme designers have about web accessibility? What information and resources do you need?

The floor is open. Let’s talk! All that I ask is that you be respectful of one another.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Speech-to-Speech Service Not Available in Canada? Pity.

Filed under: Living with a disability, Social Media — by Glenda at 9:23 pm on Tuesday, August 4, 2009

One perk of being a blogger is that readers often email me with interesting information and tidbits. Today, my loyal reader Lori-ann emailed me about a speech-to-speech relay service that enables individuals with speech impairments to make phone calls.

The phone is definitely not my best friend. I’ve had callers hang up on me, swear at me; my husband warns his contacts that I might answer the phone and to be patient. As for me calling someone unfamiliar with Glenda-ish, forget it!

So, I was definitely intrigued by the service. This fully captioned video explains how the process works:

I am somewhat skeptical that a complete stranger would understand me, particularly on the phone, perhaps because, in 42 years, it has yet to happen. Unfortunately, I may never know if this service may be a viable option for me because it isn’t available in Canada. It is, however, available other countries, such as the United States, Australia, Sweden and Puerto Rico.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if, through using this new social media, we convinced the powers-that-be to make one of oldest form of communication accessible to Canadians with speech impairments?

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