Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Colour Your Blog to Maximize Readability

Filed under: Blog Accessibility — by at 3:17 pm on Thursday, April 8, 2010

In the earlier post 5 Ways to Increase the Accessibility of Blogs, tip #3 is to maximize colour contrast to enhance readability for individuals who are colour blind or has low vision, as well as those of us with aging eyes.

But, how do you measure colour contrast? How much contrast is sufficient?

My favourite colour analyzer, so far, is the Colour Contrast Analyzer application available on the Web Accessibility Toolbar:

Web Accessibility Toolbar with the colour contrast analyzer application

Using this handy application, the contrast between a foreground colour and a background colour can be tested one of four ways, depending upon the information available:

  1. Select the colour from a drop down box,
  2. Enter the HEX code,
  3. Use the eyedropper to choose a colour from the webpage or anywhere, or
  4. Use the red-green-blue sliders.

Screen shot of the colour contrast analyzer

The results are immediately given as either a pass or fail, in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, which requires a contrast ratio of 4.5:1 (with a few exceptions).

To my understanding, the Web Accessibility Toolbar is only available for the Internet Explorer (IE) browser. (Please correct me if I’m wrong here.)

However, once the Colour Contrast Application is open and even IE closed, the application can be used in other browsers and programs; for example, in word documents to test the contrast between the heading colour and the background colour.

While researching this morning for a few other related posts and projects, I came across a list of other colour analyzing resources, which I’m working my way through:

Which resources would you add the list? What is your favourite colour analyzer tool?

For more tips on enhancing your blog, download the free ebook How POUR is Your Blog?: Tips for Increasing Your Blog Accessibility.

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Redefining My Cerebral Palsy My Way

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 3:26 pm on Friday, April 2, 2010

While writing yesterday’s post, I was going to leave it as “Perhaps the brain damage” and carry on. But then I chose to add “or brain injury” because some people now refer to cerebral palsy as a brain injury and I didn’t want to alienate or offend them by saying only brain damage – that wasn’t the point of the post.

But then it struck me in that moment. There’s a difference between damage and injury, perhaps only a slight one, but those two words do conjure up a difference in meaning, at least to me, in that moment.

Damage, for the the most part, occurs to a thing, an object, a good. Once damaged, a thing or object usually cannot be completely restored to its undamaged state. Damaged goods are typically devalued, discounted or discarded.

Whereas injury happens to living creatures; to birds, to animals, to people. Unless it’s a life-threatening injury, the person survives; perhaps not quite the same as before, but some parts or characteristics or qualities remain the same.

Defining cerebral palsy as permanent brain damage, which is always how it was explained to me and to those around me and is how I’ve seen it defined in countless sources, feels so heavy, so dooming, so damning. I began life damaged: devalued, discounted, and, by some, discarded. Where is the hope in that?

Instead, yesterday, by saying “permanent brain injury”, I felt that weight instantly lift. Yes, the injury is permanent. I’m not denying that fact. But the injury happened to parts of me; other parts of me, of my spirit, of my being remain uninjured, unharmed and intact. Those parts remain valuable and worthy.

It’s my cerebral palsy. I am the one who has to live with it every day, day in and day out. Therefore I am who gets to define it, and, today, I’m defining my cerebral palsy as a permanent brain injury. Brain damage be gone!

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5 Insider Secrets to Living with My Cerebral Palsy

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 6:07 pm on Thursday, April 1, 2010

Granted none of us are born with the manuals included. We stumble and fall until we find our way. However there are a few things that would have been extremely helpful to know from the beginning rather than needing to discover through trial and error; mainly, error in many cases.

Therefore, in hopes of helping young ones living with cerebral palsy and their loved ones who may be saying “But no one told us that!”, I’d like to share these five insider secrets to living with my cerebral palsy:

1. Telling me to relax is pointless. When my body hears the words “Just relax”, a request is being made of it; a request requiring effort, which has the opposite effect. Telling me to “breathe” has a similar effect; after all, it was breathing – or lack thereof – that put me in this predicament in the first place!

Over the years I’ve realized that distraction works much better. There’s nothing like tricking one’s own body into doing what you want!

2. Wearing socks to bed keeps my toes from twitching. With athetoid cerebral palsy, one body or another is in constant motion. There’s nothing more exasperating than trying to fall asleep when the body won’t be still. I typically tuck my right hand, one of the usual offenders, under the pillow to hold it still. And, wearing socks to bed keep my toes and feet happy and relatively still.

Of course, this all changes on hot summer nights when my energy is totally zapped. Then, less covering is better.

3. Wearing a scarf wards off the gaggy feeling. I’ve only discovered this in the last couple of years. My theory is when my neck is cold, even if there’s only a slight breeze, the muscles tighten making me feel like I’m going to gag. Don a cozy scarf and the gagginess disappears.

I wished I had known back in university when I headed out on brisk mornings for 8:30 classes. I thought the gaggy feeling was from eating breakfast way too early. Had I only known!

4. Goodbyes are torturous. Ever since I can remember, goodbyes have been difficult, leaving me inconsolable tears. I don’t know why my reaction was always disproportionate to the situation, which was embarrassing and often landed me in trouble for being over-sensitive. I only know I dread goodbyes; my stomach even knots up the day before when I know a major goodbye is looming. This is one of the very few things that I really dislike about myself.

Talking with others with cerebral palsy and moms of kids with cp, over-emotional appears fairly common. Perhaps the brain damage or brain injury has also affected the emotion center as well as the motor cortex and whatever else?

The bottom line is, unless our parting is short and sweet, be prepared for some waterworks. I’ve yet to find a way to trick my body this one.

5. Living with cerebral palsy is a continuous process of exploration. What I have done a thousand times before might totally mess up the next time. Alternatively, what was seemingly impossible before becomes doable with new technology, new insights or “Damn it, I’m going to find a way to do it!” Add aging to the mix and it’s exploring all over again. Cerebral palsy keeps life interesting!

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