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Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Yahoo! Groups

If you are blind or visually impaired, there's a good chance you've heard of Yahoo! Groups. You may already be a member of a group, maybe two or three.

Yahoo! Groups is where people with a shared interest can meet and get to know each other, along with staying informed with day to day news. Being in a group allows you to view shared message archives, photos and photo albums, group event calendars, member polls and shared links. Not all groups have these features inabled, as the group moderator you get to say which ones are active for your group.

You can create a new group for a fan club, share messages with your family and basically anything you can think of. If there's already a group that catches your eye, you can join it. The best thing about Yahoo! Groups is that they are completely free!

Because there are a lot of blind and visually impaired folks that know how to use Yahoo! Groups, I thought I'd start this article with the creation of a group. In this example, I am going to create a group for my family. This way, we can all keep in touch with family vacations, share pictures, etc. You can create any type of group you want, but this will at least give you an idea of how to get started.

  1. Start by visiting the Yahoo! Groups Web site at http://groups.yahoo.com. You will need a Yahoo! ID. If you use any other Yahoo! services, such as the Mail or Finance features, you already have one. If not, you'll need to create one.

  2. Click this link to go to the Yahoo! Registration page. Please note the information at the top of this page: "Attention Blind or Visually Impaired Users. To complete this form you must enter a word that is part of an image. If you can't read the image, Yahoo is happy to help you create your account. A representative from customer care will need to contact you. To request assistance with registration, please read the Yahoo! Terms of Service located at http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms. Once you have reviewed our policies, please provide your phone number and email address and send your request by visiting this URL - http://add.yahoo.com/fast/help/us/edit/cgi_access." If you can see the letters and numbers that make up their CAPCHA, or if you have someone who can read them, go ahead and fill out the information on this page.
  3. Once all your information has been entered, or when Yahoo! contacts you and you set up a user name and password,
  4. return to the Yahoo! Groups Web site at http://groups.yahoo.com. Type in your username and password and click Sign In.

  5. Click the Start a Group link.

  6. Now, you will be prompted to select which category you want your group to be placed in. You can either search for a group or go category by category until you find the best possible one for your group. I used the first method and after a quick search, I selected this category line: Top > Family & Home > Families > Individual Families. Since this was where I wanted my group to be, I selected the Place My Group Here button.

  7. The next step requires you to enter some information about your group. Enter the information required and click Continue.

  8. The next step just asks which e-mail you would like to receive group e-mails from and which Yahoo! profile you would like to be displayed. Enter the information and click Continue.

  9. You will then see a confirmation page. There are two links at the bottom. I suggest that you click Customize Your Group.

  10. To begin customizing your group, select Get Started.

  11. The resulting questions ask whether you would like your group to be listed in the Yahoo! directory, who can join and who can post messages. I made the family group unlisted, that people can only join with my approval and finally, that only members of my group can post messages. After you make your choices, click Next.

  12. The next questions ask whether you want to approve messages, who message replies go to and if you want to use the Web features (photo, files, calendars and polls). Most blind and visually impaired related lists do not use these features. Select your answers and click Next.

  13. The next step includes more questions about messages and Web features. Again, answer the questions and click Finish.

  14. You will now see a congratulations page. Next, I recommend that you click Invite People to send out some invitations.

  15. On the next page, you can send e-mails to invite people to your group. I typed in my family members' e-mail addresses, typed a brief message and clicked Submit Invite.

  16. The e-mail will be previewed next. Read it over and if you're sure it says everything you want it to, click Invite People.

  17. You will now see a confirmation page. Click Go to Group.

  18. Continue reading to see how you can add messages, links, pictures and files to your group if you selected these options earlier. Note the URL of this page. If you are a member of other Yahoo! Groups, you may wish to advertise your group if it's for the public. Using the URL of the group allows others to quickly go to your group's home page and sign up.

    Note the subscribe email address for your group. This email address is uniform for all groups. It usually has your group name, a dash, the word subscribe, then the at symbol and Yahoogroups.com. For example, family-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Most users will use this to subscribe to your group. You could use this email address to advertise your group as well.

Now, let's look at subscribing to groups that already exist.

  1. Click this link to visit http://groups.yahoo.com. Click the Sign In link.

  2. Enter your username and password and click Sign In.

  3. In the Find a Yahoo! Group search box, type in your query. For example, I searched for groups to discuss my favorite television show Star Trek.

  4. After scrolling down the results, I found one I liked.

  5. I clicked on it and was greeted by the group's home page.

  6. I clicked the Join this Group! button in the upper right hand corner. On the page that appears, I answered some simple questions and clicked Join, confirmed my selections and I was in!

There's a lot more to explore in Yahoo! Groups. If you have any questions, you can find out more by visiting the Yahoo! Groups Help Section at http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/groups/.

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