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Journalist Advocates Better Online Access For Blind

November 13, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Thanks go to Kelly Pierce for the introduction of this article below. It was very nice to meet with Jason Lee at the expo.

I was surfing and found this article describing Darrell’s efforts at the portable media conference in California. I thought everyone would be interested in it.

Kelly

All Headline News, Canada

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Journalist Advocates Better Online Access For Blind

By Jasen K Lee, Staff Reporter

Ontario, CA (AHN) – The editor of Weblog, Blind Access Journal is calling for online broadcasters and e-zines to make their content
accessible to the visually impaired. Speaking at the Portable Media Expo, Darrell Shandrow, who himself is blind, says too many online journals and podcasts are unavailable to the visually disabled because their content is inaccessible.

Shandrow says the technology exists for podcasters and online sites to make content available, but many are slow to recognize the audience they’re alienating.

He suggests all content providers take the time to employ the technology that will allow the blind to “read” written articles or blogs through audio links. Also, Shandrow says some podcasts are inaccessible because their content is not formatted for the visually impaired to hear it.

Shandrow explains the changes necessary to increase online
availability are not difficult and require little extra effort. However, too often, the disabled are not included in the thought processes of the content creators, thereby leaving them “on the outside.” He says a little consideration would go a long way toward bringing the blind into the inner realm of the burgeoning “blogasphere” and all it has to offer.

Check out the direct link to this story and feel free to provide feedback telling me your thoughts. It seems overly gloomy to me, and, of course, that was not at all my intent. I can only apologize for the part I may have possibly played in this slightly inaccurate impression of our capabilities and the technology we already possess to gain access to the world around us. I can only hope you all appreciate the extreme challenge involved in trying to explain the need for accessibility to those who have never heard of the concept of including those who rely on assistive technology into the development of their products and services. I feel I have done my best at the expo, but please feel free to provide any feedback concerning how to make the results of this evangelism even better.

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2 opinions on “Journalist Advocates Better Online Access For Blind

  1. What in the world is meant by making Weblogs accessible through “audio links”?

    Typical blog platforms are reasonably standards-compliant and all of them without exception produce encoded text that a browser and screen reader can understand. It is up to the screen reader, not the blog author, to provide audio.

  2. Agreed 100 percent! This point clearly did not come across in the article. Oh, well, nothing is perfect, right?

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