Yesterday I had an interaction I seem to have much too often to pass on not writing about any longer. You know, when a certain brand of folk who are convinced they know what I need and want more than I do. Almost like I cannot possess the capacity to help myself? The notion that I don’t, for whatever reason, have my best interests at heart is completely lost on these types.
But yesterday was a bit different than the many other times this sort of bullshit has happened, and I want to be careful. What happened strays heavily into the territory of faith and God. But I’d rather avoid conflating what happened with my thoughts toward either. Those who know me, know what I think on the matter. Those who don’t, just trust me, it’s not relevant to this conversation.
The interaction started when a curious party started asking a friend who I was talking with rather probing questions about me and my disability. Now said party isn’t a stranger to me, by any means. However, this person has never thought too far past themselves to engage me on matters pertaining to me. Especially considering the fact this person felt the need to go around me to get what they wanted — information. Even if it meant not treating me like a thinking, feeling human being. It’d seem little else mattered. Read “With all due respect” in its entirety
Today, Wednesday may 9th, marks the very first Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). I encourage you to take a few minutes to experience another perspective towards web accessibility first hand by going pointing-deviceless (whether you use a mouse, trackpad or rollerball, use the keyboard) or using a screen reader to navigate your computer, for even five minutes, at some point today. Every little bit helps.
But in combing through various articles and Twitter links this morning I stumbled across a post written by Derek Featherstone, titled Awareness, that immediately had me contemplating both my Grandparent’s struggles. To be fair, I’m not sure they saw their disabilities as anything they “struggled” with, as it was just something they had to deal with to successfully live a life. But for the purposes of this post and what GAAD actually represents it’s nearly impossible, for me at least, to fathom their lives as anything but a “struggle.”
When both my Grandparents were young — my Grandfather was 3 when he was struck by a motorcycle and contracted Red Measles while in the “Fever Hospital” and my Grandmother was 7 when she was afflicted with Meningitis — they were each left their “disability’s.” But in spite of such matters they lived out their childhoods and met each other at a social club organized by/ for the Hearing Impaired in Dundee Scotland as young adults. They were married in 1948, had two children by 1955, then immigrated to Canada in 1957. Read “Point is assumption hurts” in its entirety
When I began this post my intentions were to relate my entire computing career — to give you a little background in where I’m coming from, why I’m so interested in web accessibility, and hopefully give you some insight as to why I believe it’s so important. But that quickly proved to be a much more involved task than I first thought. So plans have changed, if only slightly. I figure a few posts should be enough to cover what I’d originally hoped to write in this single article. Here’s number one…
I never really had much interest in computer’s growing up. My family, most fortunately, had one. An “old” “IBM clone” from my Father’s office, that we had one helluva time outfitting with a mouse. Do you even remember using a computer without a mouse? I barely do. That’s precisely why I recall, because of the effort and frustration we went through getting that mouse to work, which never really did work, in the end. But I digress.
I’d much prefer to avoid dwelling on my back story with computer’s. Honestly aside from a a rather hardcore 8 month stint playing Might & Magic as an awkward pre-teen, a sole grade 10 introduction into computer programming and “using” a computer to “poke out” (much like I still happen to “type”) essay’s in high-school, there isn’t much to tell. I wouldn’t dare bore you with what are sure to be rather inconsequential details of a relatively non-existent experience. I’d much rather concentrate, for you and me both, on the aspects that give me and this site its relevant context.
And with that said my interest started to change in 1996 — mostly because it had to. Read “The origins of interest” in its entirety
Inclusivity isn’t anything easy to come by. I’m well aware of the efforts involved. In fact, I feel completely justified in declaring, more than most. And not in the capacity that I assume most might expect — there’s that ugly word “assume” again. Rather I’m coming at inclusion from the other side. Not having to accommodate, but needing to be accommodated.
I needed to be more like the mainstream enough to participate in… well… the mainstream. Meaning I had to adapt the way I behaved in order to make somewhat productive use out of a computer, generally, but the internet, specifically. (Which may sound vague at this point, granted, but Ill be addressing this in much more detail very soon in upcoming blog posts. Please bear with me.)
Don’t get me wrong, there was, and still is, a certain amount of technology needed to be able to interact with the internet — as there most obviously is with any individual. And the onus wasn’t entirely on me. What I’m saying is behavior and technology are never a mutually exclusive means to any end. Neither is to blame. They both are. It’s a fact we need to come to terms with and accept before “we” attempt to improve anything. Nothing is, or ever will be, perfect. Read “A reason for being” in its entirety