Why this shit (meaning accessibility) matters

For the record, I don’t really think accessibility is shit. I’m speaking (tongue in cheek) towards the reason why I do what I try to do. And what follows is the transcript of the words I gave to the 6th annual #a11yTO Camp this past Saturday. These words, the words I had my computer speak on my behalf, appear here verbatim. That’s why words such as “trach” and “Tracheotomy” are spelled phonetically, and why some bits of punctuation may seem oddly placed. The reason for this is to help VoiceOver get my points across, with the intended affect. We all, assistive technology included, need a hand getting our voices heard. Read “Why this shit (meaning accessibility) matters” in its entirety

The hardest lessons earned

I struggle with verbal communication. For those who’ve personally crossed paths with me, especially in recent years, that much is obvious. Talking ever since my accident has rarely been a simple thing for me to do. Or for others to easily understand. And both have been getting harder as time has progressed. But such is life: work with what you have.

But what happens when you can’t? Or, better still, when you’re no longer able to comfortably adapt? I’ve been grappling with these questions as of late. And to bluntly answer, there wasn’t a lot that could be done.

Now, it’s not my intent to be an alarmist. I’m fine, and I’ll be better going forward. But I’ve recently come to realize that, for certain parts of my situation, I didn’t have many options for helping myself. And everything was exacerbated by the fact that my understanding of the root cause for my decreasing ability to speak was essentially non-existent. I needed help. Read “The hardest lessons earned” in its entirety

Being disabled can be lame

In my case, being disabled really is lame. That’s right, I’m unable to walk. Did you assume I meant “lame” in another way? Curious. I’m so very interested in the meaning of words but, more specifically, how I relate to their use. What does the all-encompassing and rather generic classification of “disabled” actually mean to me, a person with disability?

Read “being disabled can be lame” in its entirety over at simplyaccessible.com

Uber must earn trust from all their customers

I was asked for my thoughts surrounding the implications of “sharing” services, like that of Uber, on people with disabilities at a workshop held at the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) today. And since I was unable to attend in person, I was kindly given the opportunity to have my written words represent my interests instead. What follows are those words…

In all honesty, my initial approach toward these thoughts consisted of little more than what I’ve heard/ read about Uber from various sources, namely from the news media. And I’ll admit, that was unfair. But also consider one “source,” a Blind colleague, who was denied service because she was accompanied by a service animal, and charged a cancellation fee on top of everything, was what I drew my impressions from most!

And this wasn’t an isolated incident, for her I mean. It’s happened to her before at least one time previous (turns out it has happened fourteen or fifteen other times). And what happened after – I have no idea what amends, if any, were offered – is of little consequence; it happened. What I’m driving at here is Uber has a public perception problem as a result. However, that’s a separate issue – one potentially solved with training.

But what concerns me more about Uber’s intention to provide its customers an accessible service is what this effort will result in when it comes to Uber’s reliability. Read “Uber must earn trust from all their customers” in its entirety

Stranded between empathy and penalty

The idea of penalty doesn’t belong to the law exclusively. It’s a penalty when a person can’t use technology they need.

Hello! My name is Johnny Taylor. I’m a disabled web worker. And it’s my job to keep web accessibility non-elite! But first, I should paint you a picture concerning me and the reason I’m speaking to you, here, at the fifth iteration of Accessibility Camp Toronto today.

Way back, in the summer of nineteen ninety-six, when I was all of twenty-one years old, I was involved in a very serious motor vehicle accident, which left me in a coma for two months (or there about). And that, getting straight to the point, is my personal motivation for practicing inclusive design. Read “Stranded between empathy and penalty” in its entirety

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