[NFBMO] Question about making computer technology 100% accessible

Julie McGinnity kaybaycar at gmail.com
Sun Oct 11 00:08:12 UTC 2020

Hi Michael and everyone,

Love this discussion so far. I think about this almost every day as it
seems to me that these days a blind person needs to be a tech wizard
just to get anything done. Seriously, formatting assignments in law
school is no joke.

Anyway, I think we have to take a multi-pronged approach to pushing
access and advocating for accessible content. Taking a company to
court isn't cost effective under most circumstances. The Dominoes case
set some good precedent, and the NFB and other organizations did some
great work raising complaints against universities promulgating
inaccessible software. Once the universities started to hear us, they
began to carve out a nitch for accessibility consultants and experts.
There are places where students are learning accessible design.
Courses on creating accessible content do exist.

It's not widespread enough to be helpful to us every day, but the
training and education is out there. Individually, we can make a
difference by writing to web designers and the like to let them know
when something is inaccessible. I am not good at doing this myself as
much as I should be. But it can make a difference. If you can get even
more blind people to complain about the same app or website, all the

I believe that one day a court may have to decide what, if any, laws
or regulations need to be in place on the internet concerning
accessibility. The technology is changing at such a quick rate that we
can't keep up, and the vast majority of designs were meant for use by
sighted people. Eventually, something vital to our survival will be
inaccessible, and the right people will be able to fight it and make
change. Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I wouldn't be able to
persevere in law school at times if I didn't believe we could see that
change one day.

Like you said, sometimes convenience and the immediate need of the
task win out over advocacy. That's the trap we're in, right. At the
end of the day, we've got to get the job done, however it gets done.
Such a tough balance to strike.

Much love to all my NFB of Missouri family,


On 10/10/20, Randy C via NFBMO <nfbmo at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> I would like to add a positive note to your current discussion.  As you
> know, I have been recently working with Drupal 8 (Drupal is a website
> programming software).  One difference that I noticed right away from
> Drupal 7 is that Drupal 8 will not allow you to add an image without also
> adding "Alt Text".  Now, it has no way of knowing that the text that you
> enter has anything to do with the image shown but it does force the
> developer to consider the blind community when developing websites.  Some
> developers still may choose to type in garbage or "This is a picture" but I
> still consider this a step in the right direction.
> Just keep holding the Tech Community accountable.  You are making a
> difference.
> Thanks,
> Randy Carmack
> NFBMO.org Website Administrator/Developer
> On Sat, Oct 10, 2020 at 2:17 PM Michael Walker via NFBMO <nfbmo at nfbnet.org>
> wrote:
>> Hi Garry,
>> Thank you for your advice. I think really the advice you provided is about
>> the only way you could actually follow, because all you can really do is
>> write to the web developer, take some to court, get a friend, or use Ira
>> like you said. I can’t imagine what else you could do anyway. I don’t know
>> that I’d want to spend all my time taking every business to court though.
>> I
>> would think that would be a lot of work. Luckily, I do have friends and
>> family. When I was at work, there was web based training that was in
>> accessible. I didn’t feel like going through the red tape of trying to
>> make
>> it accessible. We only had a week to get it done, so not much time to wait
>> for reasonable accommodations. I simply emailed my coworker, and used
>> Skype
>> for business to let her have control of my laptop. She performed the mouse
>> clicks for me, while I listened to the training. I thanked her very much
>> for it.
>> Mike
>> > On Oct 10, 2020, at 1:40 PM, Gary Wunder via NFBMO <nfbmo at nfbnet.org>
>> wrote:
>> >
>> > Hello, Michael. I'll give you my two cents worth, but two sense is far
>> short
>> > of a dollar. This means I may be 98% wrong, and that is why posting to
>> this
>> > list is a good idea. Others can set me straight.
>> >
>> > I have great dreams for accessibility, but I am not really hopeful that
>> we
>> > will make the world 100% accessible. I think that working on
>> accessibility
>> > is much like tree trimming. We work on the problem, fix it, but
>> eventually
>> > have to come back and do it again.
>> >
>> > To the extent that computers reflect the real world, we shouldn't be
>> > surprised that a lot of what happens on them is visual. I am old enough
>> to
>> > remember when computers did not produce pictures and when using them
>> meant
>> > memorizing commands. If you didn't remember the command to see what was
>> in
>> > your file folders, you were stopped. There was no point and click. There
>> was
>> > no real menuing system. Almost everything was textual. I worked in the
>> > computer field quite a while before I came to understand the meaning of
>> > a
>> > graphical user interface.
>> >
>> > So what can you do? You can write to the people who are working with the
>> > websites you want to use. Some of them will be receptive, and some of
>> them
>> > will not. Some of them we can take to court, but mostly they are
>> > proliferating so quickly that that will not work to bring about
>> widespread
>> > accessibility. We are trying to work with the people who make web
>> > development software so that they generate code that is accessible. We
>> > haven't followed this strategy long enough to know whether it will be
>> > effective.
>> >
>> > Last but not least, I suggest that you figure out a way to work around
>> > inaccessible websites when you must. Try not to let others deprive you
>> > of
>> > things that you want. Find a friend or someone who needs a small job,
>> > and
>> > use them to read web screens in the same way that you would use them to
>> read
>> > printed material from a paper. If you can afford it, consider a small
>> > monthly subscription to the Aira service. Twenty dollars a month gets
>> > you
>> > thirty minutes of service, and you can allow them to sign into your
>> > computer, read what is on the screen, and even click what is necessary
>> with
>> > the mouse. If you use either of these alternatives, don't forget to
>> write to
>> > the people who have the websites you can't use independently. Using a
>> > friend, a paid reader, or the Aira service shouldn't mean letting the
>> > offenders off the hook, and if you have alternatives to that site, use
>> them
>> > and let the offending site know why they didn't get your business.
>> >
>> > I don't know if this is good advice, but I know that I have given you my
>> > coping strategy. Maybe your inquiry on this list will bring about other
>> > strategies that are better. If so, you will not only have helped
>> yourself,
>> > but you'll have helped people like me who are not completely comfortable
>> > with the strategies we now employ.
>> >
>> > Warmly,
>> >
>> > Gary
>> >
>> > -----Original Message-----
>> > From: NFBMO <nfbmo-bounces at nfbnet.org> On Behalf Of Michael Walker via
>> > Sent: Saturday, October 10, 2020 10:42 AM
>> > To: NFBMO at nfbnet.org
>> > Cc: Michael Walker <michael.walker199014 at gmail.com>
>> > Subject: [NFBMO] Question about making computer technology 100%
>> accessible
>> >
>> > Dear national Federation of the blind of Missouri,
>> >
>> > What can I do, to contribute to making software and websites 100%
>> > accessible? I am sure many of you have faced the frustrations I have
>> > with
>> > not being able to access certain websites. Some people tell me that I
>> should
>> > accept that somethings just will not be accessible. I find I struggle
>> with
>> > that. I feel like those issues need to be fixed.  Sometimes,
>> accessibility
>> > feels like a cat and mouse game. A website or program might be
>> accessible,
>> > but then an upgrade breaks the accessibility. Can the world ever be 100%
>> > accessible? What do you think?
>> >
>> > Thank you,
>> > Mike
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>> >
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Julie A. McGinnity
MM Vocal Performance, 2015; American University Washington College of
Law, JD Candidate 2023

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