Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Your Accessibility Conscience

Fresh from WordCamp Las Vegas

Filed under: Blog Accessibility — by Glenda at 1:50 pm on Saturday, October 17, 2009

If everything went as planned, Damien Patton are now leaving the stage after a rockin’ panel presentation at WordCamp Las Vegas at BlogWorld!

Thank you to everyone who attended and a big shout out to John Hawkins for all of your efforts!

My presentation “How POUR is Your Blog” is now available as an ebook. Help yourself to a copy and feel free to spread the word widely.

During my presentation, I had the pleasure of introducing the following three bloggers with disabilities in attempts to put faces to the concept of blog accessibility:

Darrell Shandro Darrell Shandrow is an accomplished information technology professional with over ten years of experience in several computer fields including accessibility, customer service, networking, technical support and training. He is also nearly totally blind and relies on a screen reader, which enables him to use computer technology on the job, in the classroom and at home by providing the same information available on the computer’s screen in Braille and speech output.

To give a brief glimpse into what using a screen reader is like: Imagine the entire screen blacked out except for a little square which follows the currently highlighted item. you can only see what is in the little rectangle. To see anything else on the screen requires you to move the square over it using the arrow keys."
For a blind person, this "seeing" involves feeling text in Braille or hearing a voice read it as commands are entered to move the imaginary rectangle around the screen. This leads to many obstacles and frustrations when using the internet.

Darrell blogs at http://blog.blindaccessjournal.com/ 

Ricky Buchanan Meet Ricky Buchanan. Multiple disabilities and chronic illnesses, causing extreme muscle weakness and severely limited stamina,keep Ricky in bed for 22-24 hours a day.

Yet, being a self-proclaimed geek, she has her computer and various technological gadgets arranged within easy reach so that she can work with minimal physical exertion, while laying on her back in bed.

Ricky is quite active online – her lifeline to the outside world. She blogs at http://fourwallsnolimits.net/ about surviving and thriving while confined to bed, homebound, or otherwise stuck in one place. And at http://atmac.org/ about assistive technology for Apple and Mac users. She also runs No Pity City http://nopitycity.com/ – Disability gear with slogans that tells it like it is.

Her main theory on life is: I may have disabilities and problems and troubles and stuff that holds me back, but dammit I’m Not Done Living!

Karen Putz Last but definitely not least is Karen Putz – a deaf mom of three deaf and hard of hearing teenagers. Her husband is also deaf.

On top of being a busy Mom, Karen is a sales manager for videophones and relay services for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. She is also an avid advocate for the deaf community and a prolific writer and blogger.

She shares her world as a deaf mom on her blog deafmomworld.com.

With more and more content being put online in the format of audio and video without captioning, Karen fears her children will become further excluded from society.

More about WordCamp once I am home. For now, it is par-tay time; after all, this is Vegas!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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4 Comments »

Comment by Ricky Buchanan

October 18, 2009 @ 1:15 am

Thanks for the shout-out, and I’m sorry I couldn’t be at your presentation – will there be any video available or do I have to be content with the ebook?

Congrats on your great work on accessibility and on the NEED for accessibility! Keep fighting the good fight :)

Comment by Adelaide

October 18, 2009 @ 5:02 pm

There must be WordCamps everywhere!

And it’s good to be able to discover new blogs full of interesting people. I already knew of DeafMomWorld and some of Ricky Buchanan’s blogs, but Blind Access Journal was new to me (at least at this point), even though I have blind and visually impaired friends who love and live the Web.

Thank you for the e-book. Especially reminding us that (in America) that people with disabilities of all ages have TWICE the spending power of teenagers and eighteen percent the spending power of tweens. Yet, what is done to market to them/us? Almost nothing.

Comment by Karen

October 19, 2009 @ 11:03 pm

Glenda – this post is brilliant and needed. Thank you for doing what seems so obvious! I am proud to say I “know” all these people (I set @stcaccess to follow them all – as well as you! :) )
I chose to follow them because of their insights. They have knowledge that I don’t have, and I am grateful that they share. That is really what this is about – knowledge sharing. Technical communicators are supposed to know their audience. Well, people with disabilities are in that audience, so tech. communicators must be in touch if they are to know how their products or services affect people with issues of mobility, hearing, vision, and cognition.

The bonus of this professional approach is that we get to meet some more very nice, funny, kind, sweet, and interesting people along the way.

Comment by Karen

October 19, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

Oh, I meant to add this link as a resource for readers:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/
There are bloggers with disabilities on the Ouch! site, too. They used to be listed nicely in one place, but I can’t find that anymore. Bloggers are scattered about now under topics, I guess. I discovered Wheelchair Dancer this way (http://cripwheels.blogspot.com/), but as I said, I don’t see the listing anywhere. Have fun poking around. It’s a great source of information related to disability and accessibility, with British humor everywhere. :)

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