Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

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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Friday, September 03, 2010

The Disability Divide

by Donna J. Jodhan

This is probably not a term that many of you would be used to seeing so I am going to tell you a bit about it. So as to be as concise as I can be, the disability divide refers to the difference between what a mainstream person can access through the Internet versus what a blind person is able to and it all refers to information, websites, and technology.

Believe it or not, there are huge and ever widening gaps between what mainstream persons can access and what blind persons can. When it comes to information, I as a blind person am unable to read documents in PDF format and much too often both governments and companies are guilty of failing to make their documents available in formats that I and others like me can read. If these documents are not made available to me in any one of the following formats known as alternate formats, then information becomes inaccessible. Formats such as: Braille, large print, and electronic.

When it comes to websites, a similar situation prevails. Many experts readily admit that about 97% of websites are inaccessible to blind persons due to various barriers such as: Graphics and icons that do not contain textual descriptions, forms and fields that are not designed to enable blind persons to use them, files in inaccessible formats such as PDF, pop-up screens and pull-down menus, plus much more.

In the case of technology, blind persons have to depend on manufacturers to develop special software that would enable them to take advantage of such things as: MP3 players, PDAs, cell phones, plus much too much more. These gaps unfortunately continue to grow and the only way for me to put it into perspective is like this: Technology takes two steps forward, but for blind persons it's actually only one.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and tell the world that yes indeed! Blind persons can certainly enjoy things by using their sense of touch. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all: http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility: http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns: http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm

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