From BBC Ouch: Training to use a guide dog isn’t always a walk in the park.

This is a great podcast discussing the pros and cons to owning a guide dog. It is a HUGE decision that should be made after much research and making sure a guide dog is a good fit for both you, your family/loved ones and the animal.

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Clip Art of Lady with Black Hair Looking Through a Large Magnifier

Accessibility: Can We Outlaw Grey Text on White Background?

Accessibility seems to be the “cause de jour” in the tech world these days with tech giants like Facebook, Google and Microsoft pledging their commitment to Accessibility (making the internet more user-friendly for people with disabilities). As a visually impaired user and founder of a website created for the sole purpose of supporting those with visual impairments (LowVisionSupportGroup.com), I am hopeful and grateful that this issue has received so much attention. I do not want to rain on Facebook, Google nor Microsoft accessibility parade, but I urge anyone who wants to make the web more accessible to those with visual impairments take a step back and do some very simple fixes to their sites first. The first thing that could be done is to do away with grey or silver text on a white background. For people like me with visual impairments that impact our ability to see color, grey or silver text on a white background can make a site virtually useless. This seems like a very simple fix so I do not understand why grey or silver text on white seems to be the default color scheme of so many sites.

“Accessibility Teams” issuing glossy press releases touting their commitment to making the web more accessible. However, I feel like we are putting the cart before the horse, so to speak.

Features like voice over and designing sites to be more screen-reader friendly are all admirable and badly needed features for people like me who are losing their vision.

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photo of blind student with white cane being shown orientation and mobility.

Ask Don’t Grab

I had a disturbing encounter today. My caregiver dropped me at the hospital curb for Physical therapy and as I was walking through an automatic door I’ve walked through a million times, I felt someone gently grabbing my arms from behind at the same time I heard a male voice saying “you’re okay….just go a little to the left”. It really startled me and I tried to see where the voice was coming from, but the man was totally out of my field of vision. I guess to him, it looked like I was going to walk into the wall, but I wasn’t. I was mostly just trying to get through the large automated sliding door without hitting anyone with my cane. The man continued to hold onto my arms and “helped” me until I got to the elevator. It was very odd as I know he meant well, but grabbing me from slightly behind me scared the beggeezes out of me as it made me realize how vulnerable I am. It also strikes me how little people understand about the degrees of visual impairment and how much work we must do in order to educate the general public on how to interact with people with visual impairments. But how do we communicate this?

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