Robert Acosta, President
Helping Hands for the Blind
From: dan Thompson [mailto:dthompson5@xxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Monday, October 12, 2015 9:38 AM
To: dan Thompson
Subject: LinkedIn Career Networking Website and App: Assessing Accessibility
for People Who Are Blind, Dan's tip for Monday October 12 2015
*List of the Day:
Life in the Middle Ages
1. Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in
May and still smelled pretty good by June.
However, they were starting to smell so brides carried a bouquet of flowers
to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when
2. Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house
had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men,
then the women and finally the children-last of all the babies. By then the
water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying,
"Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."
3. Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood
underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs,
cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained
it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the
roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."
4. There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed
a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could really
mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung
over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into
5. The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence
the saying "dirt poor."
6. The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when
wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing.
As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when you opened
the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in
the entranceway. Hence the saying a "thresh hold."
7. In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that
always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to
the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would
eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight
and then start over the next day.
Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while.
Hence the rhyme, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in
the pot nine days old."
8. Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special.
When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was
a sign of wealth that a man "could bring home the bacon." They would cut off
a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."
9. Those with money had plates made of pewter.
Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food,
causing lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so
for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
10. Bread was divided according to status.
Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and
guests got the top, or "upper crust."
11. Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky.
The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days.
Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for
burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and
the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they
would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a "wake."
12. England is old and small and the local folks started running out of
to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a
"bone-house" and reuse the grave.
When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch
marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive.
So they thought they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it
through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone
would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift")
to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was
considered a "dead ringer."
*Fact of the day:
English derided the French as the kind of people whod go around sticking
their tongues where they
Aardvark is Afrikaans for earth pig
*LinkedIn Career Networking Website and App: Assessing Accessibility for
People Who Are Blind
For most of us, there are few things in life that are more important than
obtaining and maintaining a good job. As important as this is, it isn't the
easiest thing to do. In fact, for some, it can be quite a challenge. It's
one thing to know your own strengths and weaknesses, but it's quite another
to organize all that information in a way that is both informative and
interesting to a potential employer. For people who are blind, it can be
especially difficult to get paperwork filled out, read and respond to
correspondence in a timely manner, and make sure that résumé you just spent
hours working on looks visually appealing.
The Internet has become an invaluable tool for blind people all over the
world. It is possible to search the Web for jobs, correspond with companies
via e-mail, and more easily format that shiny new résumé you just created in
a way that will catch the eye of the sighted community.
One of the most powerful tools available today is the professional social
media platform known as LinkedIn. This website provides a place for people
with skills to connect with other people who need those skills. Sounds like
a win-win for everyone, right? It sounds even better for a blind person who
already has good screen reader and Web surfing skills. That only leaves one
question: is LinkedIn accessible to those who use a screen reader to
navigate the Web?
Getting Up and Running with LinkedIn
Over the past several months, it seemed that almost every time I checked my
e-mail, there was a message from someone inviting me to connect with them on
LinkedIn. Many of these e-mails were from people I knew, and some were from
people I wasn't familiar with. I had never bothered to sign up on LinkedIn,
but I always intended to. After all, the sign-up process was free. One day,
for no particular reason that I can articulate now, I decided to go ahead
and sign up with the service. I honestly don't recall whether I was using my
computer or my iPhone to read e-mail on that particular day. I do know,
however, that the sign-up process was painless. A simple e-mail address and
password were all that was required, and I had a LinkedIn account. I went
about completing other tasks that day, and didn't explore the site further.
After taking on the assignment of writing this article, I went back to
LinkedIn and signed in with my credentials. That's when the adventure really
began. LinkedIn is all about connecting with other people. I gave the site
permission to access my Facebook account and e-mail contacts so that I could
find out who in my networks was already using the service. I was pleasantly
surprised to find that a number of people who I know well or am somewhat
acquainted with were already on LinkedIn. I enjoyed looking through the
short descriptions they provided about themselves. Some of my friends had
skills, and even side businesses, that I didn't know about. I was able to
select the people with whom I wished to connect, and send them an invitation
easily. I was next presented with a list of my contacts who were not yet
members of LinkedIn and could select those I wanted to invite. After sending
out several invites, I very quickly received a couple of e-mails from people
who very politely but firmly requested that I not send them any more
LinkedIn invitations. One gentleman told me that he had experienced problems
opting out of e-mails from LinkedIn, and he didn't wish to go through that
experience again. By and large, though, the vast majority of responses I
received were quite positive.
I used a Mac for my first exploration of LinkedIn, so I decided to give the
iOS app a try. I chose to receive notifications from the LinkedIn app, and
boy did I get several! I actually enjoyed finding out in real time when
other LinkedIn members connected with me. I was able to take a look at their
LinkedIn profiles from the app, in much the same way that I had done from
the Mac. As I read other people's profiles, I realized that I hadn't really
taken the time to set up my own. I used the LinkedIn app on my iPhone to
complete this process, and found it to be fairly easy to accomplish. I had
already written a short one-line description of my skills, but I added more
information such as where and for how long I attended college, what my major
was, and what my current jobs were. Being self-employed, there wasn't just
one simple answer to that last question.
With my wife's help, I took a photo of myself and added this to my profile
as well. With the addition of the photo, I felt satisfied that I now had an
acceptable LinkedIn profile for others to view, whether they were blind or
Over the next several days of exploration, I discovered that LinkedIn is
like a good text adventure game. It can be engaging, you never know what
surprises are just around the corner, and you can find yourself suddenly
transported to a whole different world without warning. What do I mean by
this? Whether you are viewing LinkedIn as a sighted person, or as a blind
person using a screen reader, you will discover that the site is huge! There
are all kinds of opportunities available. You can join groups of other
like-minded people--I found several groups for musicians--you can explore
job possibilities, and you will never run out of people with whom to
connect. Activating a link on the website can take you in a whole new
direction, and it can sometimes be tricky to retrace your steps. This is
especially true for a blind person who can't quickly glance at the screen,
but must explore it in greater detail with their screen reader of choice.
In previous articles, I have made mention of Amazon <http://amazon.com/> ,
a Website that is familiar to anyone who uses a computer, and the Blackboard
service used by many college students and instructors. In both cases, I
stated that accessibility to these sites was a challenge, not because they
were not well designed for screen reader users, but because of their sheer
size. The same concept applies to LinkedIn, as far as I am concerned. I used
the site with Safari on the Mac running VoiceOver, JAWS for Windows,
Window-Eyes, NVDA, and the LinkedIn iOS app on my iPhone. Each screen reader
behaved differently as one would expect, but they all performed as they
should. The trick, as far as I am concerned, is making good use of
web-surfing techniques on whichever screen reader you choose to use.
Is LinkedIn Aware of the Needs of the Blind?
Jennison Asuncion is the senior staff technical program manager responsible
for accessibility at LinkedIn. He has worked in the area of accessibility
for the past 10 years, and has been with LinkedIn for the past 2 years.
Asuncion was a LinkedIn user before he went to work for the company. As a
blind person who uses a screen reader himself, accessibility is more than
just a job. It matters to him on a personal level as well.
The LinkedIn website conforms to Web accessibility standards, so it works
with all screen readers. Asuncion points out that all screen readers behave
differently on the Web, so anyone who uses multiple screen readers is
encouraged to explore the site with all of them. The site makes use of
heading level implementation, as well as meaningful labels for links and
buttons. If you have had an unpleasant experience using the site in the
past, it might be worth paying frequent visits to LinkedIn to determine how
things may have changed since your last visit. Accessibility is important to
the company, and constant improvements are being made all the time. Asuncion
stresses the need for good Web navigation skills when browsing the site with
a screen reader. The use of heading navigation commands, text search
commands, and exploring form controls will all be helpful. Also, familiarity
with the site will make the experience less frustrating for the frequent
visitor to the service.
The LinkedIn accessibility team
20Blind> welcomes feedback from its users.
Visit the link below where there is located an email link to the The
LinkedIn accessibility team
In addition to feedback from users of Windows screen readers, the team has
heard from those using Mac, iOS, and even Linux. Asuncion says they have not
yet received any feedback from Android users at the time of this writing.
When asked if he had any tips for blind people who might want to get the
most out of LinkedIn, Asuncion stressed the need to add a photo to the site.
This is an important visual component to one's profile, and should not be
neglected even if, as I did, one needs to gain sighted assistance to
accomplish this task.
Asuncion also stresses the need for a complete profile. You might want to
include volunteer work that you have done, along with the professional
skills you choose to add. Whether or not a person wishes to mention the fact
that they are blind is a personal matter, although Asuncion laughed when he
remarked that a profile photo of someone standing beside a guide dog might
give that fact away.
Another important tip is to spell check everything. It might be worth
writing your profile information in a Word document, and checking for
spelling and formatting errors before you add this information to the site.
Finally, Asuncion says that, although he is blind and has personal insight
into the needs of screen reader users, the needs of people with all
disabilities are important to the LinkedIn accessibility team.
Getting Even More Out of LinkedIn
While most people will probably be quite happy with the free version of the
site, LinkedIn has four premium subscription plans available to anyone who
wishes to get even more from the service. Two of these plans are geared
toward consumers, while two are aimed at enterprise.
The Job Seeker plan, which runs $29.99 per month, allows for direct
messaging of job recruiters, shows the user a report of who has viewed their
profile over the past 90 days, and can move the user to the top of a
recruiter's applicant lists.
The Business Plus plan, which comes in at $59.99 per month, adds the ability
to contact anyone on LinkedIn, even if you aren't connected with him or her.
It also allows for more advanced job search filtering tools.
Here is a link to an article describing all four premium plans in detail
A USA Today article entitled Seven Ways to Take Your LinkedIn Profile from
Mediocre to Amazing
-from-mediocre-to-to-amazing/> provides good suggestions for writing an
effective LinkedIn summary, using visual elements to spice up your profile,
and making use of LinkedIn groups.
The Bottom Line
LinkedIn is a very popular and powerful tool for connecting with other
professionals around the world. The company is aware of, and cares about the
needs of all of its customers who have disabilities, and the needs of the
blind community have been, and continue to be addressed. While I find the
site to be a challenge at times, I believe that I can learn to use it
effectively for my needs, and I encourage others to give it a try. Feel free
to write to the LinkedIn accessibility team
20Blind> with questions or suggestions.
Product Name: LinkedIn <https://www.linkedin.com/>
Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock. Isaiah
Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock. Isaiah
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