Weekend Gazette – Link Collection for February 14

We present to you a menu of tidbits collected in recent days that are too short for blog posts and sometimes too long for a tweet (when we want to add clarifying comments). Headings provide a light grouping to help you skim the offerings. Bon appétit!

Promoting accessibility to developers

Sitepoint posted an article called "Enabling Accessibility in Flex applications". Some people in technical communication are also into development. Others are on development teams, but do not code that much themselves. However, when the tech comm #techcomm person dons their researcher cap, they do an excellent service to their teams by sharing articles like this. Yes, you have the power to tell your development team or product management team about the need for accessibility and to share information for meeting that need. This article is just one example. Talk to your teams – and may the force be with you!

In the same vein, we have the article about "Audio Track Accessibility for HTML5" by Silvia Pfeiffer. Across the Internet comes the message that technical communication is moving to more and more multimedia with lots of focus on video. Before the vision and hearing impaired are excluded from your customer base, get cracking on learning about the incorporation of audio description, dub tracks (for internationalization), and sign language tracks. One day, these features, or lack thereof, could be the difference between success and failure in your business. (P.S. here's another article about video in HTML5, "HTML5 video markup, compatibility and playback", but I don't sense the same focus on accessibility that Silvia has. )

By the way, preaching accessibility to developers is really important. For example, I know that STC community websites want to implement some sort of security filter on their sites to keep trolls and spammers out, but they are mostly left with CAPTCHA, which also keeps out legitimate visitors who are unable to pass the CAPTCHA tests. Somewhere, there are some smart and savvy developers who can whip up an accessible way to include all people and exclude only spammers. Let's find them.

Involving people with disabilities in your testing

The stories in the Clear Helper blog "Web Accessibility Insights from 6 Women with Intellectual Disabilities" are exciting insights for testing. There's a truckload of information here. Are you getting truckloads of information by including users with disabilities in your testing? This tale is not over. Follow @ClearHelper on Twitter to discover more lessons learned. By the way, this tale concerns people with intellectual disabilities, but testing can involve any disability.

Evangelizing about accessibility

Help raise awareness about accessibility. In just 2 minutes and 57 seconds, your friends and colleagues can learn what an accessibility lab is and why it exists at Yahoo!.

That video sent me a message that I had known for some time, but which hit home much better than ever before. Crisp, clear writing in your headings makes it so much easier for a screen-reader user to skim headlines. I know, I know. It's so obvious, and I know that good writing is important anyway. It was watching the words on the monitor in the video and matching them to the screen reader voice – shades of testing with users with disabilities! Wow. It makes you realize that really bad headlines must be a royal pain to skim in a screen reader. This can expose bad writing in a very painful litmus test! Would your writing pass?

Troubles kicking off those accessibility conversations? Try sharing these fresh articles with friends and colleagues, like those developers mentioned previously in this blog post.

Move it, move it!

Going mobile with your website? Here are "7 Tips To Make Your Web Site Mobile-friendly".

Other overall usability tips for the mobile phone can be found in this BBC Ouch! article on what blind and visually impaired mobile phone users need to consider when phone shopping by Emma Tracey, 6 February 2010. [Archived page of BBC Ouch!]

Watch your forms on those phones! Luke Wroblewski investigates "Web Form Innovations on Mobile Devices".

Disasters, Emergencies, and the Technical Communicator

How are people with disabilities coping in the aftermath of such a huge disaster like the January 12 earthquake? Via the Huffington Post article, "Don't Overlook People With Disabilities in Haiti" by Dale Buscher, we found an article called "Persons With Disabilities And The Humanitarian Response In Haiti" (.pdf). The versatile skills of the technical communicator can be used for many of these actions. In a previous log post, we have talked about the value of technical communication skills in disaster or emergency communication. After all, who writes the emergency preparedness documentation used before a disaster? Who writes the information used after the disaster – crisis communication, instructions for using life-saving equipment, and so on? There's even a conference on this type of topic: the "Inclusive Hurricane Preparedness Conference" scheduled for April 28-29 in Biloxi, Mississippi. Writing and editing skills may save lives.

See our information for preparing for emergencies and disasters at News Feeds: Current Health Warnings, Disaster Notices, and Health and Emergency Preparedness Resources page.

The Last Word

Let's close this week's gazette with some music.

Here's an opportunity to experience "The HTML5 Song" (Parody of 7 Things – Miley Cyrus).

There's more bounce in this video. Do you know the song “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” by Beyoncé? Listen or watch this cover version where kids tell you what they think of education. The song is "All the Scholar Ladies (Get an A on It)". They get an A for the captioning (and for attitude)!

Link Contributors

This post was glued together with links or inspiration from many people. They are listed with their Twitter names.

@abrightman
@AccessForAll
@AndyAAPD
@AquinasWI
@ClearHelper
@cripchick
@DaveBanesAccess
@helenbaker
@hollylamarche
@iheni
@Jennison
@katharnavas
@mpaciello
@musingvirtual
@prettysimple
@racialjustice
@sprungmarkers
@steno
@webaxe
@whirlwindwc


Sight / Vision Loss Resources

On this page:

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Resources

  • About Glaucoma from the BrightFocus Foundation. Learn about some of the promising areas of glaucoma research that we are currently funding. BrightFocus Foundation is a nonprofit organization supporting research and providing public education to help eradicate brain and eye diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. We are working to save mind and sight.
  • ADA Guide for Places of Lodging: Serving Guests Who Are Blind Or Who Have Low Vision
  • All About Vision provides patient information about vision
  • American Council of the Blind The American Council of the Blind (ACB) was founded in 1961 but many of its state affiliates and local chapters have a history that can be traced back to the 1880s. Since its inception, ACB and its affiliates have been at the forefront of the creation of policies that have shaped the opportunities that are now available to people with disabilities in our country. ACB has also effectively collaborated with Vision Rehabilitation Service providers to develop the principles and values that should be at the heart of providing adjustment and placement services to people who are blind.
  • American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) As a national nonprofit with offices in five U.S. cities, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a leader in expanding possibilities for the more than 20 million Americans living with vision loss. We champion access and equality, and stand at the forefront of new technologies. Our award-winning programs directly address the most pressing needs of people with vision loss and their families. Like Helen Keller, AFB's most famous ambassador, we are committed to creating a more equitable world for people with disabilities. From infancy to education, career, and retirement, AFB is there to help at every stage of life.
  • American Printing House for the Blind The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is the world's largest nonprofit organization creating educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are visually impaired.
  • APH VisionAware – Resources for Independent Living with Vision Loss.
  • Armor-Tile provides detectable warning and wayfinding solutions for the visually impaired.
  • "Bibliography for Performance Systems Technology (PST) and Computer-based Instruction (CBI)" published in the ACM SIGDOC Journal of Computer Documentation (JCD) [The JCD is no longer being produced. ACM SIGDOC members are able to get copies of archived journals.]
  • Blindness and vision impairment Fact Sheet from the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Blindness and Visual Impairment Resources Lensshopper.com is an independent information website about contact lenses, not affiliated with any retailer or distributor.
  • Canadian National Institute for the Blind
  • Charles Bonnet Syndrome Foundation for phantom vision
  • Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind (Washington, DC). Since 1900, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind has been dedicated to helping the blind or visually impaired population of the greater Washington region overcome the challenges of vision loss. Our work enables people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired to remain independent, active and productive in society. Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind's (CLB) programs and services include training and consultation in assistive technology, employment marketing skills training, career placement services, comprehensive low vision care, and a wide range of counseling and rehabilitation services.
  • Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness is the essential professional resource for information about visual impairment. The international peer-reviewed journal of record in the field, it delivers current research and best practice information, commentary from experts on critical topics, news, and events.
  • Leber Congenital Amaurosis, Type I; LCA1 (congenital retinal blindness) from the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) database, Johns Hopkins University. Leber congenital amaurosis comprises a group of early-onset childhood retinal dystrophies characterized by vision loss, nystagmus, and severe retinal dysfunction. Patients usually present at birth with profound vision loss and pendular nystagmus. Electroretinogram (ERG) responses are usually nonrecordable. Other clinical findings may include high hypermetropia, photodysphoria, oculodigital sign, keratoconus, cataracts, and a variable appearance to the fundus (summary by Chung and Traboulsi, 2009).
  • Lighthouse International Lighthouse International "is a leading non-profit organization that helps people of all ages who are at risk for, or are experiencing, vision loss."
  • Media Access Group at WGBH develops and distributes captioning, video description, and MoPix means of access to movies and television for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • National Captioning Institute provides services to deaf, hard of hearing and other people who, for whatever reason, wherever situated and irrespective of their economic conditions, are limited in their ability to participate fully in the world of communications, heard, seen or written.
  • National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) of CPB/WGBH is a research and development facility dedicated to the issues of media and information technology for people with disabilities in their homes, schools, workplaces, and communities.
  • National Federation of the Blind
  • NIH National Eye Health Education Program For more than 50 years, the National Eye Institute (NEI) has been on the front lines of vision research— and we continue to support cutting-edge research projects that investigate new ways to prevent, treat, or even reverse vision loss. We also work hard to help the public learn about vision problems and how to keep their eyes healthy.
  • The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled administers a free national library program that provides braille and recorded materials to people who cannot see regular print or handle print materials. Established by an Act of Congress in 1931 to serve blind adults, the program was expanded in 1952 to include children, in 1962 to provide music materials, in 1966 to include individuals with other physical disabilities that prevent reading regular print, and in 2016 to permit NLS to provide refreshable braille displays. The NLS program is funded annually by Congress, and books and materials are mailed as "Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped" through a separate appropriation to the United States Postal Service. Cooperating network libraries are funded through a combination of state, local, and/or federal sources.
  • Vision Australia – blindness and low vision services in Australia. A comprehensive site with many useful resources.
  • Visual Disabilities from WebAIM describes the types of vision disabilities: blindness, color-blindness, and low vision.
  • Vision Rehabilitation: Helping People with Low Vision (.pdf), NIH National Eye Health Education Program.