CHALLENGES OF A DISABLED WRITER

***READER’S NOTE Make sure to read all the way to the end to see links that will give you information on screen reading software. ***
Good morning campbellsworld visitors.
This morning I’d like to talk to you about challenges I run into on a regular basis as someone who is a blind Reader, Author, and Blogger. Each day as I make my way through things like social media, email, and reading blogs, the most frequent problem I have is things not being visible to my screen reader, or Apple Voice Over.
Some of the hardest things I deal with are…
• Photos with “No available text”
• Not being able to read memes
• Not being able to read screenshots
• Info Graphics
• And one of my latest annoyances, promotional videos with no audio or available text to let me know what the video is about.
I do not feel that people are doing these things on purpose. I simply believe that if a person is not directly affected by an issue, they give it no thought.
How many of you, who are sighted thought about adding descriptions to your book cover photos etc. before you started reading me?
If I had to guess, not many.
As a person who spends most of her time on some kind of social media platform I find great joy when I can read a post no matter if it is on a blog, Facebook wall, or in an email.
I love it when I can download an E-Book, and my Kindle App reads it because the author took the time to make certain that the Text to Speech (TTS) was enabled, and I hop up and down with joy, when someone remembers to write a brief description of a photo they just shared.
Now, let me just say, I have no idea how to tell if there is, “All Available Text” with a photo that you might wish to share. I can only tell you what types of photos that my screen reader software reads.
So far it appears, (Sorry couldn’t help it) that snapshots taken with a camera most times will read.
For example, one time someone took a picture of their little boy sitting with Campbell in his dog bed, and when they texted me the picture the Apple Voice Over said, “Photo may contain child dog, and indoor.”
I thought that was pretty cool.
At Christmas this year, when people took photos of their Christmas Trees it actually said, “Photo may contain Christmas Tree with packages.”
That, is way far out!
It also Appears, (Whoops did it again)
😊
That more and more ads are including “All Available text”
But.
Screenshots do not read at all, and photos such as what come in “Gifts” on messenger, don’t do a thing for me. All I get is a notification that says, “Photo may contain text” (Boring)
Again, this is not anyone’s fault. It hasn’t been that long ago since I could not read emoticons, or stickers, and when I finally became able to do so for a while I became addicted to them.
In fact, I wish my computer had buttons on it that would allow me to do them because I cannot ever remember all the keystrokes for emoticons, and I love them.
😊
There are a lot of challenges for those who are sight impaired, and while we have come a far long way, there is still a huge way to go.

I deal with lots of other challenges as well. Not long ago I got a message from someone telling me that something I posted was off center. I was glad they told me because had they not done so I’d have not known it.
I try to make sure things I post are visually appealing, but sometimes it simply escapes what my screen reader technology will do, and even though I am careful about checking margins and the like, sometimes, especially when copying and pasting, things just do not go where I want them.
I also have issue with spelling words that sound the same but have different spellings. While spell-check has come a long way toward remedying that troublesome issue, it too is lacking. If someone can suggest a program that might catch more of those I’ll dance at your wedding if you’d tell me about it. Of course, said program is going to have to work with my screen reader, so it is going to be trial and error
Sometimes when I am writing I forget about paragraph structure, and then there are times when a post would do so much better grabbing people’s attention if only it had a photo with it but because so many of the images on the sites where we get images from do not read, I’ve no way to know what I might be posting.
So, how to over-come all these challenges?
Raise awareness. That is why I’m writing this post.
I’m not complaining, nor am I whining. I am just trying to let people know where I am at in the scheme of things.
I see a lot of blind persons chatting about this in blindness related groups etc. but I do not see enough conversations happening in the mainstream society, and so I have determined that this year I am going to try and bring us all together a bit more.
I’d also like to add, that totally blind, or visually impaired persons are not the only disabled writers who face challenges, and I’d love to hear from some of you who have other disabilities as to what your challenges are.
For now, this is Patty, who is very glad she can blog more and more on her own, and King Campbell who is snoring so loudly that his mother had to turn up her JFW screen reader saying…
May harmony find you, and blessid be.

If you’d like to see information on Jaws For Windows please visit: http://freedomscientific.com/
For Apple Voice Over visit: http://Apple.com/
Thanks for reading, and if you would, please share.
PS. If any of the links give you issue please let me know. Sometimes I mess those up too. Not sure if that is screen reader related, or operator error. LOL!

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52 Responses to CHALLENGES OF A DISABLED WRITER

  1. Dave Hingsburger, a disabled activist, blogger, and still working person in Canada reminded me of this maybe a year ago. His link is http://davehingsburger.blogspot.ca/

    I did it for a while, and then got lazy and will promise to go back to providing the alternate text on my blog, liebjabberings at wordpress, and my books’ blog, PridesChildren.com. I have CFS and very little energy, and am physically disabled, but it is more an attitude. I simply forgot.

    I have never had anyone comment on my blog who couldn’t see. I usually put some kind of a graphic on the top with some few words that go with the post. Some posts are very detailed for writing novels, others more general. And I self-published, so there are a bunch of posts about the tiny technical details of producing an ebook or a print version. Most of my visitors are other writers, but I will try not to skip that step of labeling photos and images. Screenshots I don’t know.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Patty says:

      Screenshots you cannot do anything about except when you post them you should put a brief description of what they are. Might be that no one blind comments on your stuff because some is not accessible, or it might be they do not know of you. Now you’ve commented here, that will change because a lot of my followers are blind. Disabled writers come in all shapes sizes, and abilities.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Most of us live in a visual world, but there are things we can do to help unsighted people enjoy our blog posts (and books) as well.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I appreciate your approaching here very much and as a more visual personality this has opened some new doors. Thank you and have a nice day! @ Ulli

    Liked by 2 people

    • Patty says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope you will please remember to put just a tiny description in places where graphics such as what I’ve mentioned here are present. Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. floridaborne says:

    I use a text reader for longer posts, like this one. You asked about other writers with challenges.
    Dyslexia and problems with seeing the whole picture, as well as light sensitivity, give me problems reading posts. Most (like this one) have a white background with black letters. It’s like trying to read with an interrogation light assaulting your eyes.

    When I’m editing, I use a text reader. Many times I have my eyes close when I write, to minimize the distraction of trying to see.

    That said, I’d rather fight through my meager difficulties than to have to rely on software to pick up everything single thing I need to read.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Patty says:

      I will speak with my assistant Claire Plaisted of Plaisted Publishing House and see about changing the background and lettering to colors that are easier on the eyes. I have heard others mention this, but just like those who do not deal with screen reader issues, a blind person forgets about how things look.

      Liked by 1 person

      • floridaborne says:

        The problem is that more and more people are going to the blue or black letters on white background because it’s easier for people with smartphones to read.

        That’s something you’ll have to take into consideration.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Patty says:

        Yes I have to take into consideration a lot of things.

        What colors are easy for someone who deals with what you do to read?

        Liked by 2 people

      • floridaborne says:

        When I write, I use a grey background and black letters. Most people wouldn’t like that. The background on my blog is beige with black letters. At least it helps to minimize the migraines.

        I’ve asked WordPress for an easier way to prepare a post for publication, but end up doing it on word first most of the time and transferring it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Patty says:

        I write my original posts in word and then copy and paste it in.

        Microsoft had a feature which would allow you to reblog straight from the document but it seems to currently be out of operation.

        They have a little tool that was supposed to have fixed it but that too is currently out of order.

        I have written to Microsoft and asked this be fixed.

        Of course they are not listening.

        They’re too busy inventing new things that won’t work right either.

        LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Joelle, Just read your comment and it reminded me of why my old theme was beige background (it went white when I changed to my new theme) – so I’m going to try and reinstate the beige background – give me an hour, then check and let me know in comments here, or, under any post on my blog, if it’s now okay for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with everything you say here.
    I also am registered blind and use JAWS. I would add to your list of anoyances that of inaccessible CAPTCHA. While some CAPTCHA does utilise an audible alternative, in my experience this is all to often wholly inaudible. The best kind of CAPTCH is, in my opinion that which says something like what is 2 plus 3. One enters the answer and, hey presto you can contact the blogger or post a comment. One of the reasons why I so like WordPress is the fact that (unlike Blogger) it doesn’t employ CAPTCHA and still manages to prevent the vast majority of spam.

    Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on lorettalivingstone and commented:
    Challenges faced by those with visual difficulties are not to be taken lightly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patty says:

      Thanks so much for reblogging. I’m like, totally amazed. This is going to be an awesome day. I never imagined a rant I posted yesterday would lead to my putting a link from a previous post into comments and that it could do so much. Love you guys!

      Like

      • Lol, it just goes to prove that sometimes it’s good to rant. I’m going to recommend your blog to a blind friend of mine but hopefully, you’ll also pick up new followers (both blind and sighted) from the reblog. I’ve just joined their ranks.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Patty says:

        I’m just so way excited to have had these conversations.

        This is why I continue to do this work.

        It is why way back in 2011 I wrote Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life then Campbell and I wrote Bubba Tails From the Puppy Nursery At The Seeing Eye and in the anthology mentioned on my page about my books Wish of the Wee Golden.

        Now I’m working on yet another book and hoping to put it out soon.

        I’m also looking for a sponsor, and hoping to get one soon.

        All of what is happening today will help all this along.

        As if this weren’t enough a Peace Lilli I bought last year just after coming home from the hospital has bloomed for the first time.

        The blooms have not opened yet but they soon will and I cannot wait.

        I hope to get someone to help me take a picture.

        Some blind folk can take pictures with their iPhone, and it is doable.

        My hands shake too bad for that so I stick to writing. LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Having once tried to use speech to text to save my arthritic fingers, I have seen for myself how spellchecker or anything of that type translates some words. It certainly hates any words or names used in medieval fiction. Names like Hildegarde and Etheldreda nearly gave it conniptions. The translations it made nearly gave ME conniptions. I was able to read, correct and give up on the programme, but it must make life extremely difficult if you don’t have that option. I hope something is invented to address that very real problem soon. Meantime, I’ve reblogged this to help get the word out, and I will try to remember some of the things you suggest. At least I can be pleased with myself for always having the TTS option (I think) turned on. I’m also in the process of turning some of my books into audio so that will also make them more accessible. I did try to do them in large print but for some reason I failed miserably with the formatting.

    Captchas don’t work for the fully sighted half the time, either, lol. And I’ve never managed to make an audio captcha work at all.

    Bravo for refusing to let the difficulties hold you back.

    Like

    • Patty says:

      I’d Like to invite you and all to visit: https://bard.loc.gov so that you can learn of the National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicap.

      You can submit books there to have them recorded for blind and other persons who have issues with reading.

      You pay nothing and make nothing.

      And they do not always accept book submissions for various reasons, one being lack of funding to record every-thing submitted.

      But.

      It is a program which has been around for years, and needs more awareness shown it as well.

      You can also read a Wikipedia article called That All May Read which will help show more.

      I am working on posting that article to my blog.

      Here is the email for submissions.

      nlscollections@loc.gov

      You can simply send your media kit and they will take it into consideration.

      You just write a little note introducing yourself, attach your book)s info and you may get put into their book program.

      Thousands of authors are available to us.

      Music books, scores, and recordings.

      Magazines of all types.

      The program is free to those who qualify.

      Thanks again for reblogging.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Patty says:

      Thanks to you for reblogging my work.

      Like

      • Lyn Horner says:

        Glad to help spread the word, Patty. I am also disabled, not in the same way as you, but I know the frustration of living with physical challenges. God bless!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Patty says:

        As I have said from the beginning of my understanding of disabilities.

        Whatever the disability it is a frustration.

        I am multiply disabled and so I have a hard time fitting into any spot.

        But.

        That has made life quite interesting over the years.

        Like

  8. Patty, you have reminded me at just how hopeless I am at making my posts really accessible – thank you for some great prompts to improve upon this. I have physical disabilities and at times find myself unable to type due to dislocations – but I am still able to read. I am sharing this to my facebook page (PainPalsBlog).

    Like

    • Patty says:

      Thanks so much to you and everyone. I do not believe I’ve ever had such awesome activity on my blog. Maybe I should have a hissy more often. LOL! Thanks so much for sharing. When I’m caught up again I plan to visit everyone who has visited me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Challenges of a Disabled Writer Part Two: Amazed and Disgusted With WordPress! Disabled Writers and Readers Time To Sound Off! | Campbells World

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