Re: Team Excellence Award Winner

  • From: "Octavian Rasnita" <orasnita@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2007 20:19:41 +0200

Yes of course we can have a job in this field, and as I already told, I have a 
job which also involves web design, but the examples of a few web pages or a 
few web designers blind or not blind are not important, because they are not 
suficient to prove that a blind person can do web design like a sighted.

Telling that a celebre classic music composer that was deaf was able to still 
compose music, is not a sufficient example for telling that all the deaf 
musicians will be able to continue composing music.

I don't say that we don't have the possibility of getting a job in this field, 
but I say that we won't be equal to the sighted in this field as some of the 
listers said.


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Dale Leavens 
  To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2007 6:34 PM
  Subject: Re: Team Excellence Award Winner


  Imagine two mechanics. One is a big person with large hands and fingers, the 
other a small person, maybe a hundred pound woman with small agile hands and 
fingers. The big guy has to disassemble much of the interior to repair ductwork 
or some other component behind the dash board of a vehicle while the little 
lady can work up under there and get the job done rapidly and efficiently. On 
the other hand, perhaps she cannot lift and mount a heavy tire or release some 
bolts without help because of less strength or mechanical advantage.

  Who is the deficient mechanic? Which does not have a useful, perhaps 
indispensable place in the industry?

  Political correctness notwithstanding it seems clear to me that any 
reasonable person would conclude that the entire profession is enriched by the 
added diversity even if it took a little "equal opportunity" policy to move us 
"forward". Now people with views similar to those Matthew advanced might refuse 
to permit some little woman near their equipment and assume she only got her 
license out of some sort of equity programme and doubtless that does 
occasionally happen.

  I have a strong interest in carpentry and building. I have worked on and 
observed many building sites over the past several decades. You may rest fully 
assured that not all sighted builders are equal and although the very best 
might be better and quicker than the best blind one how ever one would measure 
that, I can assure you that this amateur and one or two other blind persons I 
know do better and quicker work than perhaps half or more of those sighted ones 
I have been able to observe. Not so sure how that would apply on high steel or 
bridge construction but again, not many sighted builders would choose to work 
on high steel either.

  I believe your view is way too narrow. There is of course also the danger of 
the view being to broad.

  You speak about someone making you a Web template with a WYSIWYG editor which 
generated incorrect and otherwise bad code. Is this a good Web designer? 
Clearly there were some deficiencies, you named some yourself.

  My son is a graphics designer, works for a moderate sized advertising company 
in London Ontario. He has an Honours degree in Studio Arts and a three year 
community college diploma from a large college in Toronto. He is but one member 
of a team of creative personnel each of whom specializes in some or other 
aspect of their work. Just now he is involved in becoming more proficient with  
animation tools for some or other particular project they are taking on. It is 
an aspect of Web and other publishing they just haven't needed until now or 
perhaps just haven't pursued I don't know that. Still, there are a number of 
others in the company who are not involved in that aspect of Web design and 
maybe never will be. Although none are blind one or two might well be but would 
probably never take on my son's roll. After all the other sighted people are 

  The time may come when all need to be competent with animation software. 
Sighted or blind there then wouldn't be a place for them in that team though in 
fairness, maybe the sighted people or some of them at least would have the 
option of learning which the blind person probably would not. This leaves that 
blind person right down there with the majority of his sighted colleagues.

  Matthew's shopfront business may not attract as many customers as the sighted 
proprietor's next door because people would assume a blind person is not 
capable just as when they pass the blind lawyer's office. That the lawyer 
satisfied the bar exam notwithstanding. Depending on their needs those 
customers might well be accepting second best but ignorance can do that to you 
sometimes. It may be that behind the scenes that blind person has to work 
harder or smarter or longer or adapt processes. It might even be that the 
adapted processes turn out to be superior. What is significant is that the 
product meets or exceeds standards.

  We here in North America are fully aware of a number of products recalled, 
made in China. Those with the narrow view blame Chinese manufacture. No one 
seems to want to look at the specifications the American designers and 
distributors set for that manufacture. Now while I don't know for sure my bet 
is that there wasn't one blind person involved either in the United States or 
China in any of that decision making. If there were of course then there would 
be a substandard blind worker to implicate rather than a chinese assembly line 
working to American specifications. Maybe the blind guy used leaded paint 
because he couldn't read the label on the can. You might then have a valid case.

  Dale Leavens, Cochrane Ontario Canada
  Skype DaleLeavens
  Come and meet Aurora, Nakita and Nanook at our polar bear habitat.

    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: Octavian Rasnita 
    To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
    Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2007 2:59 AM
    Subject: Re: Team Excellence Award Winner

    Well, it doesn't matter if you care about the competition or not, because 
in what I said I didn't want to prove that your site is not good or something 
like that, but I wanted to show that a blind person cannot be as good as a 
sighted person in web design.

    If we want to compare us with the sighted, we should compare what the best 
blind web designer is able to do with what the best sighted web designer is 
able to do, and the least good blind web designer with the least good sighted 
web designer, because otherwise we compare apples with oranges.

    And by the way, speaking about apples and oranges, probably your site has 
more sighted visitors because there are more sighted persons on the world, but 
if we think in percentages, in order to see for whom is your site more 
attractive, for the blind or for the sighted, you might find that even if your 
site has a million sighted visitors and only 20000 blind visitors, the 
percentage of the blind visitors from the population of blind visitors is 
double than the percent of sighted visitors from the whole population.

    Many of us (the blind) use to create free web sites with helpful things on 
them, but this just prove that maybe most of us don't have the opportunity to 
create tens of web sites for money, and it just proves that we might have too 
much free time that we want to occupy, because the potential employers do care 
about the competitivity but we are not very good at that point, and that's why 
most of the blind persons don't have a job. If they would be as good as the 
sighted visitors for creating web design as we are in other fields like 
massage, the unemployment rate of the blind would be much lower, and very very 
many of us would be working in this field, because it would be a very 
accessible field otherwise.

    Why do I care to say that? I have a very good job, and I also do "web 
design" if I can call it that way, but I cannot compare with the best sighted 
web designers, and I do really need to compare with the best sighted web 
designers, because the financial field in which I work use to attract very good 
sighted web designers, and I need to compete with them.
    It means absolutely nothing that me, as a blind, I am a better web designer 
as thousands sighted web designers. Who care about that, because maybe I need 
to compete with the best few thousands not with the worse of them.

    Aproximately 2 years ago I asked a sighted web designer to create for me a 
good looking template that I needed to use for a site I made, and he made that 
template for me, but not only that it didn't respected W3C's recommendation, 
but it was really made absolutely incorrectly, using a WYSIWYG editor, and for 
example for each field in a form it used to start a new <form ...> element. And 
of course, there were other even worse mistakes. Well, I corrected it, and then 
after the code was a little clear, I started to analyse it, and I've seen than 
in fact that so called "design" was just a simple common type of simple web 
page, with a few navigation links aligned by some tables, and a few images, 
with absolutely nothing special. Well, I could also make such web page, but 
that thing is not "web design" at all. So I renounced finally and I've made my 
own design.

    For high standards commercial web based applications however, I can't say 
that I would be able to do everything I want, because some things that might be 
required are absolutely inaccessible for the blind visitors, and it would be 
pretty hard to be blind and to create something that's not even accessible for 
us as users.

    And I just remember a similar story with the one I told you before, when I 
needed to renounce to use a template made by a sighted web designer, even 
though he told me that he has followed a course for web design, and that he has 
a diploma.
    He finally created for me a template with some tables and a few image 
buttons, and the extraordinary part was a javascript code copied from somewhere 
that used to change the images with other images when hovering the mouse over.
    As I said, maybe 99% of the web sites don't have anything in common with 
"design" but maybe with html craftmanship, and we, the blind, can work for that 
kind of web sites, maybe with many exceptions like creating images, choosing 
and matching the colors, creating Flash annimations, but we can do it.

    Even the worse pages from those 1%, that really involve design, 
imagination, talent in visual arts are the ones that can't be made by a blind, 
and those are the pages we are talking about.

    So if somebody thinks that every page require those talents and some of 
them can be made by the blind, please don't confuse the terms, as they are 
often intentionally confused by the people or companies that want to show that 
what they made is something good.


      ----- Original Message ----- 
      From: Bryan Garaventa 
      To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
      Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2007 3:30 AM
      Subject: Re: Team Excellence Award Winner

      Ah well, I guess this just proves the point... You can't please everyone.

      I really couldn't care less that my site isn't a 'competitive good web 
design made by a blind', because that was never my intention in the first 

      A team would consist of two or more developers working on the coding for 
a project, or by taking responsibility for various tasks of that project to 
accomplish the goal as a whole. However, all developers, blind or otherwise, 
depend on user feedback to enhance the quality of their products. If an 
architect were to create a building, and asked someone with a mobility 
impairment whether they liked and considered the building suitable for their 
needs, would this then make the architect less of an architect? Would they have 
to be considered a team?

      Moreover, if this hypothetical architect had no knowledge regarding the 
installation of plumbing, and thus relied on someone else to complete this 
task, or at the least, provide the knowledge necessary for him to complete the 
task, would this make him any less of an architect?

      All developers have weaknesses in their knowledge and methodologies. The 
good ones however, take the extra time necessary to compensate for them by 
either learning how to overcome such, or by consulting those with the knowledge 
to help them do so. This does not degrade their status as a developer. Saying 
that, if you cannot do everything within a specific field, you are somehow 
proven to be substandard within that field, is ridiculous. It is impossible for 
any one person to know everything.

      As far as my own site goes, I really had no intention of making it a 
statement for blind developers, or even making this a focus point for the site. 
Nor did I have any intention of creating a competitive blind site to compete 
with sites created by other blind developers. 

      At first it was a learning experience, a place to try out new ideas and 
hone my skills in various web design techniques and languages. Within the last 
four years or so though, my goal has shifted to attracting more sighted 
visitors. My reason? Well, that's fairly easy actually... I'm really a bastard 
capitalist at heart, and the sighted market share is much wider than the blind 

      As it now stands, the majority of my web traffic comes from sighted 
users. Also, the majority of services and downloads are also being used by 
sighted users. This is not because I prefer one over the other, but rather, 
because I did put so much time and effort into ensuring a good experience for 
both sighted and non-sighted users. 

      For being a bastard though, I like to think at least that I'm a nice 

        ----- Original Message ----- 
        From: Octavian Rasnita 
        To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
        Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 12:14 AM
        Subject: Re: Team Excellence Award Winner

        See? I don't consider this a competitive good web design made by a 
        Your sight might look really nice, but if you needed much more time to 
create it, and then you need other sighted persons to check it now and then in 
order to be sure you didn't make any mistake, the result is not a web design 
made by the blind, but a design made in a team.

        And yes, as I said in a previous discussion on the list on the same 
subject, a blind person can be a part of a web design team.

        But if you are a part of a web designers team and you can't do 
everything, then you cannot be a web designer.


          ----- Original Message ----- 
          From: Bryan Garaventa 
          To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
          Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2007 10:27 PM
          Subject: Re: Team Excellence Award Winner

          Yes, true enough. The problem that I've come across repeatedly is 
that everything is relative, and you can't please everyone. 

          For instance, it took me a long time to get to look 
visually appealing. My goal was to produce a site that was appealing to both 
sighted and non-sighted users, while preserving accessibility. The difficulty 
for myself though, was that I lost my site before the internet was ever around 
(well the localnet was around, but this was mainly bulletin boards...). I've 
never seen a web page of any sort, so when I was learning CSS and various 
layout methods, I needed visual feedback to notify me when I was making 
mistakes. Mistakes are easy to do with CSS, especially when layering and 
overlapping start to occur. 

          So, I would ask someone to check it out, and they would say "Oh wow! 
That's awesome!". That was great, it made me feel all fuzzy inside like I had 
actually done something worth while. Then, I would tell someone else about it, 
all proud of course, and they would report back "Why are all of your web pages 
that horrid brown color? It makes them look like... Well... You know..." And my 
first overreaction is "What the hell is wrong with JAWS! I checked the bloody 
colors when I wrote the damned thing..." and so on...

            Well, it took a lot of trial and error, but eventually I got the 
hang of it, and can now fairly accurately determine what the consequences of 
various code implementations will be. Unfortunately though, I really wouldn't 
have been able to get to this point if I hadn't received visual feedback during 
the learning process. 

            Being blind sucks, but it's a condition like any other. If visual 
feedback will aid me in accomplishing a task, I'll be the first one to seek it 
out. I've learned the hard way that being too proud to do so, is a lonely and 
fruitless occupation.

            ----- Original Message ----- 
            From: Octavian Rasnita 
            To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
            Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2007 10:07 AM
            Subject: Re: Team Excellence Award Winner

            Yes I also like when the sighted or the blind have complaints, 
because most of the times I know what I need to change for making the site look 
better. But the problem is that sometimes the complaints sound like "Oh, but 
that page is not nice. Please make it to looke nicely. Can't you?", or "That 
stock chart has the lines too proximate, and I can't see them very clear", or 
"those 3 charts with volumes and the other 2 indicators should be put in the 
same image below the main candlestick chart", and so on.

            Well, those charts are generated dynamicly, by the program, and by 
a program that was not made by me, because it would take a very long time just 
to make that program that generates the graphic, and I need just to change it 
in order to "look better", but I cannot see the distances between the lines or 
other things like that, (like a sighted person easily can), and I don't have 
the time for making studies about how to do that, because this is a very very 
small part of the job I need to do.

            I know that a blind person that stays at home the entire day in 
front of the computer, has the necessary time and power to study and make tests 
in order to do this kind of complicated things, but even in that case, they 
won't be able to do anything without having some sighted help for telling them 
how the result looks.


              ----- Original Message ----- 
              From: Bryan Garaventa 
              To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
              Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2007 7:33 PM
              Subject: Re: Team Excellence Award Winner

              That's alright, I haven't actually received any complaints. If I 
ever do though, it simply indicates an area for improvement. I've always been 
open about this to my clients, and they appear to appreciate it.

                ----- Original Message ----- 
                From: Octavian Rasnita 
                To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
                Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2007 10:05 PM
                Subject: Re: Team Excellence Award Winner

                You cannot ignore the complaints if the complaints come from 
the customers, because they might choose to work with one of your competitors.

                And most of the times the sighted users don't have any 
complaints, but just don't like and just don't use a site that they don't like.


                  ----- Original Message ----- 
                  From: Bryan Garaventa 
                  To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
                  Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2007 10:59 PM
                  Subject: Re: Team Excellence Award Winner

                  Hey, I'm rather pleased with the layout of 
I'm pretty sure the layout looks appealing, I know I've put enough work into it 
for me to believe this anyway... All I have to do is ignore the complaints?

                    ----- Original Message ----- 
                    From: Darragh Ó Héiligh 
                    To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
                    Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2007 12:22 PM
                    Subject: Re: Team Excellence Award Winner


                      > Please tell us where can we see the web page made by 
that blind guy, and
                      > will tell you if a blind person can do it without 
sighted help. 
                      > I've seen many messages on this list telling how cool 
web pages can a
                      > blind
                      > do, with with no single example.
                      > Octavian

                    take a look at:

                    also look at a cached version of and
                    my own website is down at the moment as I'm restructuring 
it and the online version was getting in the way. 

                    I'm by no means a designer on par with a sighted person but 
it can definitly be done.  it just takes a bit more determination.


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