Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Flipping Your Ebooks on Their Ear Eases Reading

Filed under: Accessibility 100 — by Glenda at 2:15 pm on Thursday, April 2, 2009

Accessibility 100Electronic books or ebooks are a great way to share your expertise and to generate an income. However, how many are sitting on computer hard drives around the world, unread? Your work and expertise wasted.

 

An ebook page partially visible

To minimize paper clutter, I rarely print ebooks. Instead, I prefer reading them on my computer. However, that typically means much scrolling from page to page, which requires fairly fine muscle control – and some days I don’t have it.

A two-column ebook page partially visible Even worst are ebook with column layouts as they require constantly scrolling up and down.

Many ebooks are sitting in my electronic library, unread. Who knows the gems of wisdom wasting away in there!

An ebook with landscape page orientation, completely visible

A few days ago I downloaded Milana Leshinsky’s Unlock Your Business Growth and immediately noticed a refreshing difference! The entire page was visible without needing to scroll. I read all 42 pages right then.

What was the difference? The page orientation was landscape, not portrait! I was amazed by how turning the page sideways made such a huge difference. Hitting the “next page” button was all that I had to do. It was so easy, so refreshing.


Portable Document Format (PDF) is the commonly used format for creating ebooks. However, for many individuals, PDF means Pretty Damn Frustrating. Creating accessible PDFs will be covered in a future Accessibility 100 post.


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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3 Tips for Making Your Hyperlinks More Usable

Filed under: Accessibility 100, Blog Accessibility — by Glenda at 5:11 pm on Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How many times do you skim an online article or blog post, looking for interesting or relevant links? Individuals with sight impairments using screen readers (software that reads aloud text on the computer monitor) can have the software scan for hypertext links. However, oftentimes, the purpose of the hyperlink is difficult to determine. Similarly, individuals with other types of disabilities may face other obstacles while trying to use hyperlinks.

Web designers and bloggers can easily improve hyperlink usability by implementing the following three tips:

Tip #1: Make hypertext links informative when read out of context.

Imagine what individuals using screen readers would hear in the following example:

Examples of poorly written hypertext links, including "Click here"

In this example, the links “Christa Couture” and “Click here” are meaningless when read out of context. These individuals do not have any clue where the links will take them. The links should be rewritten to read “British Columbia singer/songwriter Christa Couture” and “View event details”.

Tip #2: Make hypertext links succinct.

Imagine how time consuming the next link would be to listen to, if you are scanning for only links:

Another poor hypertext link: an entire sentence is linked  

Making an entire sentence a link is unnecessary and is sloppy.

Tip #3: Separate adjacent links with non-linked, printable characters.

Imagine how confusing these two adjacent links would be if you had double vision or how difficult selecting the small links would be if you had a shaky hand:

An example of a poor hypertext link: two adjacent links with no separating character

In this example, rewrite:

“…running two Group Research projects…” (where each hyperlinked word points to a separate link)

to read

“…running the Internet Marketing Group Research Project and the Community Building Group Research Project…” (where the project names are hyperlinked and separated by the non-linked word “and”).

Other printable characters that can be used for separating adjacent links include punctuation, pipe bar |, brackets [ ], parenthesis ( ), and slash /.

Additional resources on hypertext links

(Re-examine the first two examples for a clue to next Wednesday’s web accessibility tip…)

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Are You Preventing Customers from Entering Your Store?

Filed under: Accessibility 100 — by Glenda at 1:29 am on Friday, January 9, 2009

Accessibility 100 Our snowy roadAfter feeling incarcerated for nearly four weeks, Darrell and I escaped our house arrest, barely. Our street is still down to one lane, shared by cars and pedestrians. Being in wheelchairs, stepping sideways into the snow, out of the way of oncoming cars, is impossible. Navigating the road, while people are driving home after work would definitely not be safe.

Sidealk is partially covered by snow and partially shoveledOnce down our street, we discovered (though weren’t surprised) that cleared sidewalks were hit and miss. Some businesses had shoveled their sidewalks; others had not. Some curbcuts (ramps in sidewalks) were cleared, while others were not, making crossing to the sidewalk on the other side of the street unsafe.

Sidewalk covered with snowDarrell and I were able to get to Staples to exchange a faulty Christmas gift and to the mall for our monthly treat at Tim Hortons. Getting to the grocery store didn’t look promising.  Good thing we are still well stocked, thanks to Mom!
 

Wheelchair parking with curbcut blocked with snowDear Businesses,

When clearing snow, please also clear the curbcuts and all sidewalks around your property. Otherwise, customers using wheelchairs, walkers and other mobility aids and those unsteady on their feet cannot enter your store to spend money.

Thanks kindly,
Glenda


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.

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

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Spotlighting Businesses That Are Improving Accessibility for People with Disabilities

Filed under: Accessibility 100, Living with a disability — by Glenda at 10:43 pm on Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Accessibility 100Accessibility 100 provides easy-to-implement, free and inexpensive ways for improving accessibility for people with disabilities, dispelling the myth that accessibility needs to be expensive and difficult to achieve. Let’s spotlight Accessibility 100 in practice.

Oftentimes businesses and establishments make the news for not providing access for people with disabilities. Let’s turn that spotlight around and shine it on businesses and establishments that have improved access or service for people with disabilities in small yet meaningful ways, or even for one customer in that moment.

For example, several years ago Darrell and I spent our anniversary at Crescent Beach. We found a small place somewhere along the water for dinner. Once we had eaten, I had to use the washroom. The single washroom was tiny. There was no way I could get my scooter in and close the door. Of course, every restaurant should have a wheelchair accessible washroom; however, sometimes reality bites! In that moment, I had to use the washroom and I had no clue where the nearest accessible one was. The waitress kindly helped me to walk into the washroom, waited for me, and then helped me back to my scooter. That was not likely in her job description, but she did what she could to compensate for the building’s lack of accessibility. For that I am appreciative.

More recently, at the Sandman Inn in Castlegar, the manager ensured appropriate grab bars were installed in the otherwise fairly accessible bathroom before I returned to my room on the second night. This enabled me to safely use the toilet.

How many other individuals do what they can to make their businesses or establishments accessible, in that moment, for a customer/client/patron with a disability?

Let’s spotlight individuals and businesses that have taken small steps to improve accessibility, one customer at a time. To get this going, I am tagging Kara Swims, Lori-ann Engel, David Hingsburger, Norman Perrin, Nickie, and Karen Putz.

Haven’t been tagged? Not to worry. Either leave your story in a comment below or share your story on your blog and link back to this post. That way all of the stories will be gathered in one place for others to read and to learn from.

Let’s hear your (or a loved one’s) story!


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.

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

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I Got In, Now Let Me Out, Please!

Filed under: Accessibility 100 — by Glenda at 11:00 pm on Monday, November 3, 2008

Accessibility 100Today Darrell and I met my aunt and uncle for formally introductions to their newest, most adorable family member. Then the four of us went for a pre-birthday lunch.

I decided to use the washroom before ordering. The separate wheelchair washroom was an encouraging sign – until I noticed the door knob (rather than a lever handle). No problem. I’m not that much of a weakling; I can manage a door knob – or so I thought. The knob turned out to be the stiffest one I had ever encountered, and the door, one of the heaviest. A fellow diner kindly held the door open for me; she even had difficulty opening it.

Coming out of the washroom was more challenging. With my left hand, I grabbed the knob and turned and turned and turned, then pulled. With my right hand, my bad hand, I drove my scooter forward to open the door further. Needing only another inch to fully open the door beyond my back wheel, my left hand slipped. My left foot didn’t catch the door in time. The door closed. I tried again, and again. Eventually a waitress saw me struggling and rescued me.

A small weigh scale
(Photo credit: Yaroslav B.)

A door need not be that heavy. A door needs only weigh 5lbs to open and can be measured using a fish scale, somewhat similar to the one shown here. Most door closures can be adjusted with a screw driver, making them lighter to open.

With a lighter door and a lever handle (like this one from Canadian Tire for $45), the wheelchair washroom would be even more accessible.


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.

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

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