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Posts Tagged ‘disability’

Presentation Presented!

October 15th, 2014 by Steve | No Comments | Filed in Accessibility Thoughts, art of web accessibility update

As I’ve been mentioning, I got the opportunity to give a presentation on accessibility at work. I think it went well. I’m going to tweak it a bit to make it more generic and less specific to the company, and then I’ll share it.

The common themes:
1) Accessibility is a cornerstone of User Experience — while the focus is on people with disabilities, accessibility really is about opening pathways for every user.
2) There are far more disabilities to be mindful of than just, say, blindness (which many people only think of when they think of accessibility). There are disabilities related to vision, hearing, motor skills, cognitive capabilities.
3) And what about environmental limitations? Some people use technologies in poor lighting or too much lighting. Some have numerous, disparate displays screaming for their attention.
4) Do you really know your users, or do you paint them with a spread brush and make sweeping generalizations about how able-bodied they “have to be” to do certain jobs? Maybe you do have a type of user who does in fact have to be devoid of certain disabilities to do a job that involves your product. But be very careful making assumptions!

It was a fun little presentation to put together, and I’m optimistic it’s opening doors for me in raising awareness of accessibility. Stay tuned and I’ll share more.

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Another Presentation in the Works

August 27th, 2014 by Steve | No Comments | Filed in art of web accessibility update, Personal

I’m excited that I’ve been asked to do an accessibility presentation at work.

I’ve got about a month (less now!) to put together something. The good news is that I’ve got a pretty solid foundation in place. Now I just need to fill in details.

Since the audience probably isn’t overly familiar with web and application accessibility, other than high level “We need to be mindful of X, Y, Z for government compliance”, I think a great approach is to go over:

1) What is accessibility?
2) Why is important?
3) What disabilities affect people who use the web or applications (it’s not just blindness!)
4) What about, specifically, our users?

Stay tuned — some of the stuff will obviously be company-specific stuff I won’t share, but I’ll post the general stuff when it’s all done.

It’s exciting to me because it’s an opportunity for some general education, and to dispel some myths or assumptions along the way.

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Full Circle Arts Launches Updated Website

April 24th, 2012 by Steve | No Comments | Filed in Accessibility News

Full Circle Arts logo

Full Circle Arts, a Manchester, England-based organization dedicated to opening channels into the arts for all people regardless of disability, just launched a newly-redesigned web site.

They offer lots of ways for aspiring artists to achieve success, such as: toolkits and resource articles; links to arts organizations; job opportunities; and the ability to create a profile to showcase one’s artistic abilities.

I learned about Full Circle Arts last year, when they reached out to me to write a feature article, to be launched with the new site.

Now that the redesign is in place, my article, The Accessibility of Color on the Web, is now available. Check it (and the rest of their site!) out.

Also, follow Full Circle Arts on Twitter and their Facebook page.


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Video Gamer Overcoming Paralysis

April 20th, 2011 by Steve | No Comments | Filed in Video Games

I think I may have mentioned once or twice that it’s incredibly difficult staying committed to blogging. A couple weeks of being “too busy” between work and home life…followed by a couple more. Next thing you know, it’s been months.

Needless to say, this place has collected some dust.

But anyway…I’m back and hopefully to stay.

I was searching around the Web for interesting news in the world of video game accessibility, and found a fascinating video. It’s of a gamer who broke his neck and, as a result, is paralyzed from the neck down. He has limited usage of his arms and no movement in his fingers. Even so, he has found the means to effectively play video games.

Check it out:

If you head over to Brashant Entertainment – Video Game Experts, you can get a deeper explanation.

Watching this drives home a couple things. First and foremost, it’s absolutely amazing to see how people overcome disabilities. Before I got into this accessibility thing, I wouldn’t have imagined someone with this man’s degree of paralysis playing a shooter video game….and playing it very well!

It’s inspiring, to say the least.

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Tour of IndependenceFirst – part two

January 29th, 2010 by Steve | No Comments | Filed in Accessibility Thoughts

I’ve been spending the past couple weeks sharing insights from attending both “Multiple Facets of Accessible Design” and a tour of IndependenceFirst. Tonight, I’ll wrap it up with one more post about the various things I learned walking around the facility.

Display case of assistive technology devices, photo courtesy of Michael SeidelI was really impressed by the extent to which a place like IndependenceFirst goes in making all aspects of their facilities accessible. Some examples didn’t surprise me, like having bathrooms and shower facilities that are fully usable by those with various disabilities, or a cafeteria with accessible appliances. Others were just things I’d have never thought of.

There is an extensive library of assistive technology devices available for use, some I recognized and others that were completely foreign to me. They were several cases with all manner of these devices — keyboards, telephones, calculators, clocks, measuring cups, to just name a few.

Computer Recycling area at IndependenceFirst, photo courtesy of Michael SeidelIndependenceFirst has a program in which they help people with disabilities get recycled computers. This includes training such as accessing the Internet. We got a glimpse of this Computing Recycling area. There are even local Milwaukee businesses that send volunteers over to get donated computers up and running.

I had never even considered the idea of an accessible copy machine, but we got to see one. Also, in the tour of the Wellness Center, Carol Voss pointed out a wheelchair-accessible weight scale, something that is very rare, even for hospitals.

It’s probably pretty obvious that I came away from visiting IndependenceFirst with a deep appreciation for their services. Four straight blog posts about my experience ought to prove it! After building a rapport with IndependenceFirst through social media, I was glad to finally see the place and meet people like Carol Voss.

Wheelchair scaleI feel I’ve learned a lot in my first year of delving into web accessibility, but I’m coming to realize that there is a huge difference between reading insightful articles and online materials, and actually firsthand watching how disabled people interact with the world around them.

Watching Scott Mayer cruise — and occasionally stumble — through web sites, just trying to do basic tasks like pay bills online, really phased me, in a good way. Even someone who’d like to think of himself as enlightened to web accessibility has a lot to learn!

For me to call myself a true web accessibility expert, I’m going to need more direct contact with disabled web users. You can’t truly understand what they go through by solely checking web sites yourself and running automatic tests.

(Special shout to to friend and colleague Michael Seidel for sharing the photos of the assistive equipment and the computer refurbishing room)

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