Category Archives: Adaptability

A part of my thinking towards using and assessing technology has come from the idea users must do their part adapt to its use. You know, because most technology sucks. It’s required. Admittedly, this thinking largely stems from a narcissistic pride in my own ability to adapt. But, of course, there are limits. What happens when users can’t adapt? Well, The Hardest Lessons Earned represents exactly what happens. It can have very harmful consequences.

The hardest lessons earned

I struggle with verbal communication. Full stop! For those who’ve personally crossed paths with me, especially in recent years, that much is obvious. vocalizing ever since my accident has rarely been an easy thing for me to do, or for others to reliably 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 just 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 causes for my decreasing ability to speak was essentially non-existent. I needed help. Read “The hardest lessons earned” in its entirety

Communication is often a challenge

Last month at Accessibility Camp Toronto I had a number of encounters with people I’ve had conversations with in the past. And for reasons I’ll touch on in a bit, communication between them and I was a challenge. But with the benefit of time, and an email exchange with one of the aforementioned conference participants, finally comes this post today.

I tend to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. Meaning I’m pretty hard on myself when it comes to assigning blame for anything not going as I intend. Or, better still, as I imagine it could. This year’s camp is case in point.

Realistically taking all the  blame probably isn’t the most productive of ways to have handled this specific instance – as was put to me by more than one person who had issues understanding me. “Context is everything.” Point taken.

I’m not that loud of a speaker. And being in loud hallways or auditoriums isn’t an ideal place for me to be heard, let alone understood. It’s just I felt at Camp this year, every encounter I had seemed like I was the reason for it feeling a little awkward – whether rightly or wrongly. Thing is, I possess the ability to change. I really should work much harder to take better advantage of it. And I am. Read “Communication is often a challenge” in its entirety

The use of technology will always require adaptation

This past Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) I was fortunate enough to catch part (as in a wee bit) of Inclusive Design 24 (#ID24). The Paciello Group held 24 one-hour webinars concerning various matters dealing with accessibility. It was really quite the productive gesture to, and I’ll quote, “celebrate efforts worldwide to ensure people with disabilities have full and equal access to the web.”

Remember — and not to suggest this was The Paciello Group’s intent when offering their statement about #ID24 — “if what one is unable to do continues to be used as a means of defining disability […] then every single individual on this planet is disabled.” That statement brilliantly sums up an intent of GAAD quite nicely, so says me. It’s all inclusive.

And one “webinar” in particular got my noodle cooking. The Billy Gregory’s talk, 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started in Digital Accessibility. Not that any talk I was able to tune into wasn’t great. But it was this one, however, that was personally relevant. In the sense I found myself thinking a lot about how I’d answer Billy’s proclamation. Read “The use of technology will always require adaptation” in its entirety

Automatic audio text transcriptions

In honour of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) today I’m throwing this method out in to the ether that is the web. However, it’s not the quote/ unquote “technique” I’m offering — in the sense I really expect anyone will use it. Rather it’s my aim to try and get people thinking about the content they consume and produce on and for the web, period. And thinking a little differently about said web content.

After all, that’s the point of going through the effort of raising awareness. To think about anything in a manner which you aren’t typically conditioned to think about them. Or in other words, it’s not so much the result I’m most interested in here, it’s the reasons for and process that give us that result. It’s my hope to draw some attention towards automatic text transcriptions of audio only podcasts, specifically.

And I’m aware such a solution is still a ways off from being practical — as in reliably useable. But it’s never too early to entertain prospects. And experiment. Read “Automatic audio text transcriptions” in its entirety

The Split Tap

An interested party left a comment on a post I wrote back in November of last year, called The frustrations of VoiceOver. The commenter wondered if the situation I described in said post was the same for VoiceOver in Safari on iOS (meaning on both the iPhone and iPad). Problem being, I had a one helluva time testing the “bug” with VoiceOver on iOS.

Long, and somewhat uninteresting (for the scope of this piece, at least), story short, I was able to clear the biggest impediment I had toward testing this quirk in iOS yesterday. How do I even turn VoiceOver on to test? It, as in iOS, will not recognize my double taps when it asks for confirmation for turning VoiceOver on. “Is this really what you want to do? iOS’s gestures change when VoiceOver is turned on” (I’m quoting from memory, it’s more than likely that isn’t what it says). So I put a call out on Twitter asking how I might overcome this.

Although the solution isn’t all the intuitive to discover on one’s own, that doesn’t necessarily make any solution any less liberating or powerful. Read “The Split Tap” in its entirety