[bct] Re: Making things cross disability accessible

  • From: Tim Cross <tcross@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 09:54:59 +1100

Hi Darrell,

thats the position I've been taking. In many cases, the text she wants
is already in electronic format, but without the fonts and colours she
wants. I've been suggesting that as it would cost so much to create a
copy with the special colours she wants, this is not feasible and have
suggested and even demonstrated software which would allow her to
enlarge the text and set the background and forground colours, either
by a line, couple of lines or whole screen. Unfortunately, this is
where things become difficult as she is not prepared to even consider
such a solution - it has to be exactly as she wants it and no
negotiation or compromise is acceptable. There mere mention of such
things gets her rushing off letters to every anti-discrimination body
she can think of.  

I wouldn't mind so much if she would give these suggestions a try, but
refusal to even consider them is irritating to say the least. Its
actually even really difficult to find out the exact reason why she
wants things the way she is demanding them - simply asking her to
explain makes her defensive. 

I'm actually used to this sort of thing to some extent after so many
years in IT. People often come to you with a solution and are
unwilling to explain exactly what the problem is. I am often saying to
people, "Bring me the problem, not the solution". In IT, its common
for people who don't have a lot of knowledge or experience in the
field to believe they know the solution. It often takes a lot of work
to extract exactly what the problem is they want solved and a lot of
the time, you know of far better solutions than the one they have come
up with. The irony is that if you just accept their proposed solution
and give it to them, nine times out of ten, they will be back in a
month abusing you for providing a solution which doesn't work
properly. 

Tim

Darrell Shandrow writes:
 > Hi Tim,
 > 
 > Couldn't she just take the electronic copy and employ software like Magic or 
 > ZoomText to achieve the results she needs?  Seems to me the big deal is 
 > providing the electronic text.  Once done, it is accessible to assistive 
 > technology, to which it is all up to the user to employ effectively in order 
 > to get the job done.
 > 
 > 
 > Darrell Shandrow - Shandrow Communications!
 > Technology consultant/instructor, network/systems administrator!
 > A+, CSSA, Network+!
 > Visit http://www.petitiononline.com/captcha and sign the Google Word 
 > Verification Accessibility Petition today!
 > Information should be accessible to us without need of translation by 
 > another person.
 > Blind Access Journal blog and podcast: http://www.blindaccessjournal.com
 > ----- Original Message ----- 
 > From: "Tim Cross" <tcross@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
 > To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
 > Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2006 1:15 AM
 > Subject: [bct] Making things cross disability accessible
 > 
 > 
 > >
 > > This is a very very difficult area. Just this week, I've had to deal
 > > with someone who has extremely complex requirements and its proving
 > > very difficult to satisfy her needs. She also has a rather unfortunate
 > > attitude and personality which has not helped.
 > >
 > > This woman has multiple disabilities, including low vision and hearing
 > > loss. She wants to enrol in a degree, but all the texts have to be
 > > provided in electronic form. Thats OK. However, she needs a specific
 > > font and the most difficult part, a very complex colour scheme in
 > > which specific colours are used for various parts of the text and each
 > > alternating paragraph has to have a different colour.
 > >
 > > All of this is possible from a technology perspective. However the
 > > cost of creating the texts start at $30,000 per text. This cost has to
 > > be paid by the institution. The degree will take a minimum of 18
 > > course units and some units have multiple texts. The institution will
 > > therefore have to spend a minimum of $540000. This is a lot of money
 > > for a small University to spend on just one student.
 > >
 > > Part of the issue here is that it appears the demands this woman is
 > > setting out for the text format is a bit excessive - she is able to
 > > communicate and read electronic communications without the colour
 > > scheme fine. there is no argument the colours do make things easier
 > > for her, but at what point does this level of ease become
 > > unreasonable?
 > >
 > > My view has always been that we are entitled to reasonable access and
 > > that some of the responsibility to deal with things has to fall on the
 > > person with the disability. Of course, you have the problem of
 > > agreement on what is to be considered reasonable. In this case, I
 > > beleive this woman is being unreasonable because she can access the
 > > text and read it without the complex colour scheme. There are even
 > > software solutions such a zoom text which will allow you to set the
 > > colours interactively, but apparently, this is not sufficient.
 > >
 > > the general feeling I get from trying to find a solution for this
 > > woman is that she is not prepared to compromise or work with the
 > > system to find a resonable solution and I suspect this will all end up
 > > in court. The basic problem I think is attitude. This woman believes
 > > the world owes her and everything has to be changed to accomodate her
 > > needs and she should not be required to accomodate the world. I think
 > > she is a rather angry and upset person who is constantly frustrated
 > > because so much of the world is not structured to meet her fairly
 > > unique requirements.
 > >
 > > My personal beleif is there is no point in having some sort of
 > > underlying expectation the world is supposed to be fair. Its actually
 > > quite a harsh unfair world and each individual is only a very small
 > > and rather insignificant part of it. We do have the right to expect
 > > reasonable accomodation to our needs, but to a large extent, its down
 > > to each individual to find solutions.
 > >
 > > Normally, I don't have to deal with this sort of problem - its not
 > > actually my area of work or expertise. To some extent, I think I've
 > > been brought in simply because I have a background in technology and
 > > programming and unfortunately, because I'm the only blind person
 > > employed by the institution and therefore must have some sort of
 > > secret knowledge or understanding. I find this sort of thing quite
 > > unfortunate and feel it probably does more damange to people with
 > > disabilities than anything else. If this University had encountered
 > > this woman before I applied for a job there, I suspect I would never
 > > have gotten my job as the University would have been concerned
 > > employing me would cost too much. As it was, there was some concern
 > > when they did employ me and since there has been a number of times
 > > that its been mentioned how surprised they have been regarding how
 > > little it has cost to employ me and that the cost has been proven to
 > > have been well worth it. In fact, now they keep trying to push things
 > > at me.
 > >
 > > some of you are probably thinking that because of anti-discrimination
 > > laws, they wouldn't have been able to not employ me due to the costs
 > > of having to provide adaptive technology or workplace modifications -
 > > but I find that a totally naive opinion. All that anti-discrimination
 > > laws can really do is reduce the amount of obvious discrimination. If
 > > an employer knows the law says you cannot refuse to employ someone due
 > > to their disability, they will just say they are not employing you for
 > > some other reason. So, to some extent, it hides the discrimination.
 > > this doesn't mean the laws don't do some good, they do, but they only
 > > really help in very obvious discrimination cases. A lot of the time,
 > > the more incidious discrimination is not obvious and the law does not
 > > help. In these cases, education, positive role models and first-hand
 > > experience is very important and thats why I think its important as
 > > someone with a disability that I do whatever I can to find solutions
 > > and work within this complex and difficult world.
 > >
 > > Tim
 > >
 > > Neal Ewers writes:
 > > > Vince, You said, "People with visual stress, dyslexics, those with
 > > > limited movement and deaf
 > > > people all present different needs too, so it's no wonder things aren't
 > > > quite perfect yet!"
 > > >
 > > > What can sometimes be troubling is the hard work that goes in to making
 > > > something cross disability accessible.  There seem to be people in each
 > > > disability community who will work their heads off to get something they
 > > > need even if it means that the product is not accessible to people who
 > > > have other disabilities.  And there are some disability groups that seem
 > > > to have more clout than others.  Why, for example, does the Randolph
 > > > Shepard act say that people who are blind have first rights to vending
 > > > stands.  In years past, those stands were quite small and often sold
 > > > candy, smokes, etc.  Now, some of them are large food service
 > > > establishments.  So, why is someone who is blind more qualified to run
 > > > such an establishment than someone who is in a wheel chair, or deaf, or
 > > > has no arms?  But you can be assured, that if congress decided to give
 > > > other disability groups equal rights to this perk, a lot of people who
 > > > are blind would be ready to fight that change with all their might.  So,
 > > > now you see how hard it is to work with groups of people with varying
 > > > disabilities.  I did this at Trace all the time, and it could be some of
 > > > the most divisive posturing I have ever seen.
 > > >
 > > >
 > > > Neal
 > > >
 > > >
 > > > -----Original Message-----
 > > > From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
 > > > [mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Vince Thacker
 > > > Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 12:41 PM
 > > > To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
 > > > Subject: [bct] Re: FW: Introducing DbDialog: a free, accessible database
 > > > manager
 > > >
 > > >
 > > > Neal,
 > > >
 > > > I have to admit accessibility is a darned complicated theing, as I know
 > > > from
 > > > trying to create accessible web pages and failing miserably sometimes.
 > > > People with visual stress, dyslexics, those with limited movement and
 > > > deaf
 > > > people all present different needs too, so it's no wonder things aren't
 > > > quite perfect yet!
 > > >
 > > > Vnice.
 > > > ----- Original Message ----- 
 > > > From: "Neal Ewers" <neal.ewers@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
 > > > To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
 > > > Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 4:32 PM
 > > > Subject: [bct] Re: FW: Introducing DbDialog: a free, accessible database
 > > >
 > > > manager
 > > >
 > > >
 > > > > Vince, you say, "When I run it I don't see any scaleable fonts, any
 > > > > color contrasts."
 > > > >
 > > > > Thank you for pointing out that many people who may be on this list
 > > > > may have some limited vision.  We often get so rapped up in speech and
 > > >
 > > > > braille that we forget about those who need color contrast, large
 > > > > text, etc.  Thanks for keeping us on our toes.
 > > > >
 > > > > Neal
 > > > >
 > > > >
 > > > > -----Original Message-----
 > > > > From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
 > > > > [mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Vince Thacker
 > > > > Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 9:52 AM
 > > > > To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
 > > > > Subject: [bct] Re: FW: Introducing DbDialog: a free, accessible
 > > > > database manager
 > > > >
 > > > >
 > > > > I've had a quick look at this and have to ask my usual question, "What
 > > >
 > > > > do you mean by accessible?"
 > > > >
 > > > > When I run it I don't see any scaleable fonts, any colour contrasts or
 > > >
 > > > > even a single Tooltip.  Every time I press anything I get an error
 > > > > message that
 > > > > is basically a line of code with ifs and thens.
 > > > >
 > > > > Very ppor job in my opinion.
 > > > > Vince.
 > > > > ----- Original Message -----
 > > > > From: "Jamie Pauls" <jamiepauls@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
 > > > > To: <accesscomp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>; <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
 > > > > Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2006 11:35 PM
 > > > > Subject: [bct] FW: Introducing DbDialog: a free, accessible database
 > > > > manager
 > > > >
 > > > >
 > > > >>
 > > > >>
 > > > >> -----Original Message-----
 > > > >> From: blindtech@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:blindtech@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
 > > >
 > > > >> Behalf Of Jamal Mazrui
 > > > >> Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2006 2:40 PM
 > > > >> To: blindtech@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 > > > >> Subject: Introducing DbDialog: a free, accessible database manager
 > > > >>
 > > > >> Now available at
 > > > >> http://www.empowermentzone.com/dbdsetup.exe
 > > > >>
 > > > >> Since developing database applications under DOS in the early 1990s,
 > > > >> I have had a goal of developing them under Windows.  Thus, I am
 > > > >> pleased to announce
 > > > >> DbDialog:  a free database manager.  It achieves a high level of both
 > > > >> functionality and accessibility by exploiting capabilities of
 > > > standard
 > > > >> Windows controls.
 > > > >>
 > > > >> The program supports tables of records in Microsoft Access format.
 > > > >> Once a table is defined, records may be created, modified, browsed,
 > > > >> searched, and output in an efficient manner.  Initially, sample
 > > > >> tables
 > > > >
 > > > >> are defined for tracking contacts, events, and albums.  Complete
 > > > >> documentation is available in an HTML file with structured headings.
 > > > >>
 > > > >> I welcome feedback and contributions toward the improvement of
 > > > >> DbDialog.
 > > > >>
 > > > >> Regards,
 > > > >> Jamal
 > > > >>
 > > > >>
 > > > >> BlindTech is a service of MosenExplosion.com. To find out about the
 > > > >> other e-mail lists we run, please visit us on the web at
 > > > >> http://www.MosenExplosion.com Yahoo! Groups Links
 > > > >>
 > > > >> <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
 > > > >>    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/blindtech/
 > > > >>
 > > > >> <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
 > > > >>    blindtech-unsubscribe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 > > > >>
 > > > >> <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
 > > > >>    http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
 > > > >>
 > > > >>
 > > > >>
 > > > >>
 > > > >>
 > > > >>
 > > > >>
 > > > >>
 > > > >>
 > > > >> --
 > > > >> No virus found in this incoming message.
 > > > >> Checked by AVG Free Edition.
 > > > >> Version: 7.1.375 / Virus Database: 267.15.12/265 - Release Date:
 > > > > 2/20/2006
 > > > >>
 > > > >>
 > > > >
 > > > >
 > > > >
 > > > >
 > > > >
 > > > >
 > > > >
 > > > > --
 > > > > No virus found in this incoming message.
 > > > > Checked by AVG Free Edition.
 > > > > Version: 7.1.375 / Virus Database: 267.15.12/265 - Release Date:
 > > > 2/20/2006
 > > > >
 > > > >
 > > >
 > > >
 > > >
 > > >
 > >
 > > 
 > 
 > 

Other related posts: