Imagine Living Without Books Part 1: The Importance of Supporting Print Disabled Readers

People often ask me what I do, and I tend to respond with “providing books in accessible formats to print disabled”, but most people seem to simply accept that as another job or project description. Some people do ask me to explain further, but often, I don’t think we (and that includes myself, and other people involved in the project) truly realize the impact and importance of the project. Continue reading Imagine Living Without Books Part 1: The Importance of Supporting Print Disabled Readers

Vancouver Accessibility Meetup Notes

Accessiblity Meetup

Eric Molendyk from Tetra Society

  • non profit org, one of the disabilities foundation
  • assist people with disabilities achieve independent and fulfilling lives using assistive devices
  • connect technologists and engineers who volunteer their time to help those with disabilities do what they want to do
  • examples: custom holders of electronic devices, computer setups, wiring devices to work with other devices (e.g. smartphone control of powerchairs), wheelchair baby carrier, tetralights (safety bar of LED lights that attach to mobility devices)
  • important that when designing physical items for wheelchair users, nothing sticks out, because liable to be damaged

Joanna Briggs from Simply Accessible

  • assessment of websites, mobile apps, kiosks, anything digital
  • digital accessibility guidelines: WCAG 2.0 (AODA, Air Carrier Access Act), BBC Mobile Accessibility Guidelines, Section 508
  • there is no “typical” behaviour, because difference depending on individuals
  • assistive technology include screen readers, zoom, voice recognition, keyboards (custom layout, high contrast), switches, eye tracking
  • sometimes aspects or “features” can conflict e.g. high contrast is good for people with low vision, but can be problem with people with reading disabilities

no one has the same setup

  • ways to determine accessibility: expert review (manual code review), assistive technology testing, automated testing, usability sessions with real people
  • example: pop-up with small x to close an email subscription of a specific site (no semantic link, missing text equivalent, lower contrast, floating when CSS background images disappear, esc key doesn’t dismiss, focus not isolated to pop-up modal)
  • most important issues to tackle: keyboards, images, forms, document structure

Steph Kirkland from Vocal Eye

  • describe live theatre and shows
  • listeners get a handheld device to listen; describers get microphone with transmitter
  • describers are trained to observe, analyze, and describe in such a way that serves the audience; background in theatre and writing
  • describers put in about 25 hours to write the script, paid by fee charge to theatre
  • challenge to get the word out to very niche, frequently isolated; how for theatres to accept, get funding
  • theatre buddies by meeting with disabled and escorting disabled listener to the theatre
  • can now offer training, can be used for classrooms and other contexts
  • ticket access program with reserved seating and low ticket prices
  • bringing different communities
  • allow more participation
  • working with small, community theatres ways to provide increased accessibility and number of disabled attendees
  • after show touch sessions
  • tend to use sympathetic voice, non-intrusive though not overly dramatic, nor robotic
  • describer will see show at least 3 times, sometimes get review video; have learned to describe less than more

Meetup Discussion

What do people want?
* diversity of arts, physical, digital space
* assistive technology demos; see how people use it
* daily life challenges
* look at ways of filling the gaps
* mix of presentation and social time

Announcements
* slack channel?

Meetups
* aiming for approximately once a month (9-10 times a year)

Accessibility Needs
* space
* speaker training?
* ASL
* CART transcription
* copies of presenter slides, notes

Publishers and the Print Disabled in Canada: Some Get It, Some Don’t

It’s no secret that the print-disabled are a under-supported group. While those who are not print challenged have are able to read all the literature that we understand, print-disabled readers only have access to a small percentage (1-7%) of the world’s published books. There are many efforts underway with:

However, the group that can and does have the most impact on accessibility of books is publishers. Continue reading Publishers and the Print Disabled in Canada: Some Get It, Some Don’t

Notes on Recent Presentations

Just wanted to write a quick post to explain what is happening with presentations this and coming months.

Normally, after a presentation, I will put up a blog post with a copy of the slides and script. However, I’ve been asked to do the same presentation for different institutions, and there are so few differences, that rather than doing a full post, I’ve simply made note of the presentations and the differences below. I’ve also not added copies to SpeakerDeck.

While I update my presentations whenever I can, there really haven’t been any new discoveries or anything in the last year around writing accessible content. So I decided to base my slides on last year’s Making Accessible Content Easy and Part of Your Work presentation I did for the University of Pittsburgh.

  • University of Pittsburgh March 2016 presentation. There was a technical issue causing the webinar to not be recorded, so they invited me to redo the presentation this year. I added the squirrel picture at the beginning, changed the wheelchair ramp picture, and took out a link that broke.
  • JIBC March 2016 presentation. Changed all the references to and resources from University of Pittsburgh to JIBC, changed US to Canada statistics, and added the squirrel picture from the 2016 deck.
  • FLW May 2016 presentation. Changed all the references to University of Pittsburgh to Florida Library related ones, changed resource links to general ones, and added the squirrel picture from the 2016 deck. Since this presentation hasn’t happened yet, I’ll update this post later if there are other changes.

Tips and Error Fixing When Using the Save As DAISY Word Plugin

I’ve been using the Save As DAISY Word plugin a lot lately, and while the documentation is pretty good, there are some bugs and other things that pop up. Since the plugin is no longer under development, I thought I would document here some of the workarounds and ways to fix errors caused by existing bugs. Continue reading Tips and Error Fixing When Using the Save As DAISY Word Plugin

Tips on Converting PDF to an Accessible Document

I’ve talked about making documents accessible and the editing guidelines, but the more editing I do, the more I realize I save a lot of time because I don’t do all my editing manually. Some of these tips might also help when editing after converting from EPUB and other ebook formats. Continue reading Tips on Converting PDF to an Accessible Document

Presentation: Accessibility is About Your Users

This was presented as a guest lecture at Langara College for the Fall 2015, LIBR 2411: Library Technologies and Information Management course in the Library Technician program. The presentation included a number of discussion questions and exercises, which are still noted but the wording has been edited. Please also note that sources are listed in the deck and typically not listed in the write up. Continue reading Presentation: Accessibility is About Your Users

Tips on Recording Audiobooks with Audacity

While there is a ton of documentation out there for using Audacity, recently, I’ve been recording some audiobooks in Audacity and struggled sometimes to find how to do specific things that are less to do with mixing tracks and more to do with editing a single track. So, here are a few tips and list of helpful resources. Continue reading Tips on Recording Audiobooks with Audacity

Accessible Format Production Part 5: Editing the Document

Much like for PDF, there are different levels of accessibility for an electronic text (e-text) document. The more that you complete for a document, the more accessible it is. However, you still want to balance quality vs. quantity.  Continue reading Accessible Format Production Part 5: Editing the Document