Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Your Accessibility Conscience

Highlights from My Pre-Olympic Photo Wheel

Filed under: Vancouver Winter Games — by Glenda at 8:34 pm on Thursday, January 28, 2010

Olympic Winter Games 2010 ccountdown clock in downtown Vancouver

Yesterday Darrell and I unplugged from our computers and headed out for a photo wheel – a photo walk on wheels, of course! – to capture signs the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2010 are, indeed, coming to Vancouver!

The first stop was, naturally, the countdown clock. At that moment, the Olympics officially begin in 16 days, 4 hours, 39 minutes and 49 seconds, precisely!

Paralympic Winter Games 2010 ccountdown clock in downtown Vancouver

On the opposite side, which many people likely don’t check and, hence, miss, is the countdown clock for the Paralympics – one of the very few signs I spotted that the Paralympics are also coming to Vancouver, but I’ll save that rant for another post! These segregated games begin in 44 days, 4 hours, 32 minutes and 42 seconds.

Paper lanterns by Taiwanese children hanging from metal tree forms in public art display

These lantern trees were made by Taiwanese children for the Taiwanese art display – part of the Cultural Olympiad.

Looking up at these paper lanterns drawn by children half a world away, I realized these Games are touching millions of people around the globe. And, despite the protests, the budget overruns, the road closures and other annoyances, for better or for worst, these two world events are going ahead. We might as well as enjoy the party while it lasts – the bill will come soon enough. This is our chance to show off to the world what we, the locals, already know: Vancouver and surrounding area is the best city to live in!

Canadian huge a in wrapped Vancouver downtown building

Who says Canadians aren’t patriotic, eh?

I like how this downtown building is wrapped in a gigantic Canadian flag.

My husband Darrell Hyatt

My lunch date! Ain’t he handsome?

I love spending time with him, being with him. We can talk for hours – and we do! – about ideas we have, projects we want to create, and whatever else is on our minds.

A golden eagle sculpture paintedThis last photo is my favourite from the day. I learned nighttime photography with a slower shutter speed and jerky cerebral palsy are not the best of friends. But, after several shots and extreme patient (by both myself and my husband), I finally had an amazingly clear photo of this eagle sculpture – part of the Eagles in the City project by the Lions Club Society.

Determination and perseverance do pay off!

Visit Flickr for many more shots from the photo wheel.

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Mapping My Social Media Empire

Filed under: Social Media — by Glenda at 12:37 am on Sunday, January 24, 2010

For 2010, I have chosen streamline as my word to focus on; as in streamlining my lines of communication. Giving this much thought, what I am truly seeking are ways to get my social media and networking efforts working seamlessly and smoothly; in essence, efficiently managing my media empire.

The first step is to inventory my media empire, visually represented in this diagram (click on the image to enlarge):

Diagram of a central circle connected to seven outer circles representing Glenda's media empire

As I see it, my blog is the center of my media empire with seven smaller territories or outposts: Twitter, FaceBook, Linkedln, YouTube, Flickr, StumbleUpon, and Email Broadcast.

The next step is where the process becomes intriguing and takes me back to my university courses in Mass Communication – it’s all about cross-media promotion! Think what you will about her, but Oprah is an awesome example of someone who has built a media empire and uses cross-media promotion to keep the whole thing humming seamlessly: she mentions her magazine on her TV show, her magazine points readers to her website, her website provides details about her satellite radio station, etc. Brilliant!

Those of us blogging and using various other social media and networking tools are striving to do the exact same thing, albeit on a much smaller scale (at least, for the majority of us!).

Taking my social media empire diagram from above, I then add red arrows indicating the flow of information, the cross-media promotion efforts. In this diagram (click on it to enlarge) the dotted red arrows indicate a manual effort or action and the solid red arrow indicate an automatic action.

Glenda's social media empire map

The numbered arrows indicate the following:

  1. Manually tweet when I publish a blog post, bringing people to the blog.
  2. New blog posts are automatically added to my Facebook Notes and Networked Blogs. (Need to manually hit publish on Networked Blogs, but then it appears twice on my Profile page. A setting somewhere?)
  3. Tweets are fed automatically into my Facebook status line.
  4. Linkedln profile brings people to the blog, in theory.
  5. Videos posted on YouTube bring people to the blog.
  6. Manually stumbling posts brings people to the blog.
  7. Blog posts are automatically sent to email subscribers.
  8. The recently added TweetMeme (currently located in the upper left corner of posts) that enables readers to manually tweet out about that blog post. (I’ve noticed these tweets aren’t appearing in the twitterstream; rather, only the TweetMeme website. Another setting somewhere? Or, would another plugin be better for this? )
  9. Currently, the TweetMeme feature is also include in the email broadcast so the email readers easily tweet about the post.

Representing my social media empire in this way I find exciting and I can now see where the gaps are. This year I aim to experiment with ways to connect and to strengthen my empire, ways for cross-media promotion. Some experiments will succeed, other will bomb. I intend to share what I learn in an ebook later this year.

Have you mapped your social media empire? What have you discovered?

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What Does Accessibility Mean to You?

Filed under: Accessibility 100 — by Glenda at 3:11 pm on Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another Accessibility 100 postIn launching the 2010 edition of Accessibility 100 – a series of 100 easy-to-implement, free and inexpensive tips for improving accessibility for people with disabilities, I am borrowing a powerful idea from blogger extraordinaire Liz Strauss.

You are invited to share exactly 25 words on:

What does accessibility mean to you?

Why only 25 words? To drill down to the essence of what accessibility truly means.

As Liz explains (with a few minor changes),  “Here’s how you might go about it:

  1. Look for an insight or piece of wisdom about accessibility.
  2. Write a sentence about it.
  3. Count the words you have written.
  4. Edit the sentence until you have 25 words exactly. Notice how your idea changes as you edit and how your feelings change with each rewrite.
  5. Add a picture if you can.
  6. Post your 25 words on your blog (or in the comments below) by January 31st.
  7. Link back to this post or leave a link to your post in the comments section (or both to be sure!).  I don’t want to miss yours when I compile all of them. “

I will compile all of your words into some kind of creative PowerPoint video.

To ensure the project’s richness in perspectives, insights and wisdom, everyone – with or without a disability, impairment or adversity – is welcomed and encouraged to share. Are you in?


Accessibility 100 is a series of 100 easy-to-implement, free and inexpensive tips for improving accessibility for people with disabilities. This is a community project. Feel free to leave your comments, questions and ideas for future Accessibility 100 posts.

Get the entire series by subscribing to this blog by filling in the form in the upper right corner or by subscribing to the RSS feed.

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Top 10 Most Engaging Posts of 2009

Filed under: Blogging, Social Media — by Glenda at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, January 19, 2010

According to PostRank Analytics – a system for analyzing and scoring engagement events, social engagement refers to “the attention other people pay to your published content, like blog posts, news and articles. They see and read a post, and then because it’s interesting, inspiring, or controversial, they get “hooked” and decide to take further action.”

PostRank’s scoring system measures the “5 C’s” of engagement:

  • Creating: i.e. writing a blog post
  • Critiquing: i.e. leaving a blog comment
  • Chatting: i.e sharing and discussing information on Twitter
  • Collecting: i.e. submitting a post to Stumbleupon
  • Clicking:i.e. clicking a link to read a blog post

The more engagement an event requires (i.e. writing a blog post), the more engagement points the event receives. Bloggers can use their posts’ engagement scores as a measurement of how well their readers are reacting to and engaging with their content.

PostRank crunched the numbers to determine the most engaged readers in 2009. And the results are in…!

PostRank Top Blogs 2009 - #6 in Disability Thanks to you, my very engaged readers, Do It Myself Blog ranked #6 in the Disability category! Thank you!

The detailed analysis is available from PostRank. The top 10 engaging posts are:

  1. Da Wife on Wheels Dismissed Yet Again / August 29, 2009 – 406 engagement points
  2. 5 Reasons Why Bloggers and Web Designers Should Consider Accessibility / October 6, 2009 – 346 points
  3. Let’s Feed 100 People in Need Christmas Dinner, Again! / December 4, 2009 – 335 points
  4. WordPress Misses the #1 Accessibility Tip / September 28, 2009 – 325 points
  5. What Makes a Blog Theme Accessible? / August 6, 2009 – 274 points
  6. To the Employers Who Refused Me a Job, You Lose! / December 30, 2009 – 273 points
  7. Social Media Empowers Otherwise Silenced Voices / July 31, 2009 – 251 points
  8. How POUR is Your Blog / May 1, 2009 – 222 points
  9. Dreams Do Come True – With a Little Help from Friends / October 23, 2009 –164 points
  10. Are Multiple Themes Useful in Improving Blog Accessibility? / August 24, 2009 – 164 points

I’ve included the post dates to illustrate that the older posts (hence more time for engagement) are not necessarily ranked higher. These numbers also prove your comments, tweets, stumbles and the like do matter! Thank you.

I will continue creating, if you continue critiquing, chatting, collecting and clicking. Together, let’s see how engaged we can be in 2010!

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Are All Video Captions Equally Accessible?

Filed under: Blog Accessibility — by Glenda at 5:45 pm on Thursday, January 14, 2010

While writing my latest post for dotgov.com on captioning videos, I had the opportunity to learn a bit more about captioning YouTube videos. I began wondering if how I caption videos is the most accessible way of doing it. Allow me to explain.

When I create a PowerPoint presentation, I also include captions. This means when I capture the presentation as a video, the captions are already there, as in this video on accessible recreation:

Similarly, when I record a video, I use the captioning feature in Camtasia Studios 6, which is fairly easy to do. Captions are automatically added below the video, as in this video message:

This way the captions are always visible, not only for individuals who require them but also to be subtle accessibility reminder to others that videos need to be captioned.

YouTube closed caption button By having the captions always visible – open captions, it saves toggling on captions in YouTube, if, indeed, captions do exist.

How many people even know the arrow in the lower right corner of the YouTube can turn on/off captions when captions are available? Go watch this great video of the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0) Theme Song with the captions turned on. Can the caption feature be operated only using the keyboard? I am still digging for that answer…

Interestingly, if the captions happen to be turned off when I grab the code to add the video to this post, the captions button is no longer available (unless something changes after this post is live), making the captions unavailable to my readers. Really?

My embedded captions are always available, regardless where the video is viewed!

Because of the way I create captions, they are part of the video when I upload to Viddler or YouTube. I do not need to upload and edit a separate captions file. However it does mean when viewers search YouTube for captioned videos, mine are not listed.

Apparently when captions are uploaded separately to YouTube, they can be automatically translated into the viewer’s preferred language, and hence the videos become accessible to a larger audience. I am still looking for an example to verify how this actually works. My captions cannot be instantly translated.

Also, captions, being text, can be searched for, further increasing findability and accessibility. Captions created through PowerPoint and Camtasia cannot be searched via YouTube. 

Finally, when turning on captions in a YouTube video, you can control the look of captions with a few keyboard shortcuts:

  • Increase text size: press "+" key
  • Decrease text size: press "-" key
  • Change background: press "B" or "b" key

My embedded captions are always white text on a black background to maximize contrast and to enhance readability. However, short of watching the video in full screen mode, the viewer has no control over the font size. In future videos I can, however, increase the font size when creating the captions in PowerPoint and Camtasia, if this is an issue.

After this experimenting, I’m left wondering: are some video captions more accessible than others? What is the most accessible method of captioning video?

Share your thoughts and opinions in the comment box below…

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