Even Grounds Blog
In this blog, I will reflect on issues which effect the accessibility of technology. I would like to bring certain issues to my readers attention which are either interesting, directly effect our lives, or bring issues into our attention which we would have never thought of.
Tom Babinszki, Director of Even Grounds
In most electronic devices today, sound is included as a primary or secondary feature. This provides a good deal of convenience for users as it enables them to be aware of certain events without looking at the device.
However, sound may not be that useful for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. So to solve this issue, providers of electronic devices have thought of an ingenious feature that can be used when sound is not a good option. This feature incorporates vibration which is activated during specific events.
Imagine yourself without the ability to hear, not even the slightest sound. How would you carry out your daily tasks and activities? What would you do to complete them properly?
We’ll try to answer these questions and much more by following a person with a hearing disability for one day. We will focus on how he uses technology in his daily life.
It is interesting to know that a particular technology can serve more than one purpose. Take for instance the concept of closed-circuit televisions. Originally designed for surveillance and industrial processes, closed-circuit televisions or CCTVs have been proven to be useful for people with visual impairments.
Here, we will focus on how CCTVs can help visually impaired persons in carrying out daily reading tasks.
In part 1, we saw how Marvin, a guy with low vision, starts his day, goes to school and does the typical tasks of a student. We saw how he uses technologies to help him do the stuff he would otherwise find very difficult due to his low vision.
Let’s now follow him as he continues his day at the university.
Being comfortable in looking at the screen is very important when using the computer. For people with perfect vision, this does not pose a concern. But for people with limited or low vision, it may be difficult to see images and regular text on the screen.
An application known as a screen reader can provide the needed solution for people with visual impairments. Here, we will take a look at what a screen magnifier is, and how it helps persons with low vision.
Through the last three weeks, we followed Lisa, who is a blind woman, and examined how she uses technology to help her. Today, we will start talking about people with low vision.
When talking about sight-related disabilities, most people would quickly think of blind individuals. There is, however, another similar disability, and it involves limited or low vision. A low vision individual does not have perfect eyesight, but at the same time, he cannot be considered as totally blind.
We’ll find out more about this disability by following a person having this visual impairment. Here, we will take a look at the disability-related issues he encounters and how he uses mainstream and assistive technologies to solve these issues.
Reading your electronic documents using your hands instead of your eyes may sound almost impossible. However, this is actually what many blind persons do. This is done through a device known as a Braille display.
Braille displays are hardware that enable users to read in Braille the text displayed on the computer screen. Using this device, blind people can navigate through the computer’s desktop, create and edit documents, and browse the Internet.
In part 2, we followed Lisa, a blind woman and examined what kind of challenges she faces using everyday technologies, such as the computer, a mobile phone, the internet, or just reading the menu in a restaurant. In this part, we will see how Lisa does her groceries, reads the mail, or watches movies.
Before you pay for a movie ticket or for a new pair of shoes, you would always make sure you’re handing the seller the right amount. This is really simple, you just have to give a quick look at your money, take out the right amount, and that's it.
But for people who cannot see, this becomes a difficult task. Here, we will talk about the problem faced by blind people, and discuss the possible solutions for this issue.
Recently, we have seen a significant decline in Braille literacy among blind people in the U.S, and also in some other countries. At the same time, we have seen instances wherein blind people attain success in education and employment. This led to the belief that blind persons can now do without Braille.
Let us find out if Braille is indeed something which the blind can live without.