I’ve been super busy for the last couple of weeks, so this post will have to be short and sweet (I’ll be back on track by the weekend), but wanted to take a few minutes to alert people to the fact that today is the first ever Global Accessibility Awareness Day. “GAAD” is an initiative started by web developer Joe Devon and accessibility specialist Jennison Asuncion and you can read all about it on the project’s website.
To spread awareness of some of the obstacles people with various disabilities face while surfing web, they posted a challenge for people to unplug their mouse for an hour, or try using a screen-reader. I dove right in by activating ChromeVox (a free screenreader for the Chrome browser), but my efforts were cut short by the fact that my browser has decided it’s Swedish and the very American synthetic voice kept mangling the Swedish menu items horribly. (It was pretty funny until I realized I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off and the voice just would not shut up!) I’ll give it another try when I have more time, especially since web accessibility is an area that interests me. Kudos to all the real screenreader virtuosos out there who do this every day!
For anyone curious to learn more about how people with little to no vision surf the web, I recommend this video, which I found to be pretty pedagogical (I may even have linked to it before). If you want to know why blind people are so freakishly good at understanding synthetic speech at extremely high speeds (hey, an actual superpower!), reading the abstract of this paper should have you set. And, for a Daredevil connection, I refer you to my 2009 post Assistive technology in Daredevil. That’s all for now!