My little red tether is my anchor in running with my friends. A beautiful guide dog has been my tether/anchor in mobility and independence for 17 years: 1. Pantera 2. Cricket, and now my beautiful 3. Georgina (Georgie). A life of family and friends is my joy and anchor in life.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. CC Scott

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blogging

The question was asked, how do I blog?   I invite other readers  who are blind to PLEASE share -- as many of them are so much more of an expert than me.  I will preface this with saying, that my way is not the most efficient.  Fellow blind bloggers may be rolling their eyes at how I do it.  I look forward to reading your tips! There are requests for sharing how you put the descriptive link on pictures -- please share.  I am at a place in my blindness journey where I need to slow down and take some further technology training.   Many friends who are blind, tell me that I could speed up my process by utilizing speech further.  I'm getting there - one step at a time.  I have a date scheduled with a friend/mentor in November to continue on with my learning.    It has not been something that I have grasped easily.  I have learned that when my process doesn't work, I embrace the next stage.  

I have a program called ZoomText on my computer as well as a touch screen computer.  With a pinhole of vision, keeping track of that silly little curser is extremely challenging.   So, being able to touch the screen and have a big large cursor appear at that place is helpful.  It also has speech technology.  With Retinitis Pigmentosa, larger print is not necessarily helpful as my visual field is SO small.  I have a very small watch and scan to see the hands -- I can't see the 10 and 2 at the same time.  Basically think of a coin - perhaps a quarter and that is the amount of vision that I can see except not at the same time.  It  is a snippet of vision that is fuzzy.  I can tell colors, generally except two that are close as in black or blue.  With this small peephole of vision, at times I can get an overall picture better on the small camera than in real life, does that make sense?  I may simply be able to see the silhouette of it on the camera and in real life it is lost in the samll amount of vision.   

My daughter and I have been known to have conversations such as -- me: how do I put a link on my blog?  Mom go to the tool bar and she talks me through to where it is located or teaches me the command to type in.  I sometimes may forget what I had for breakfast, but phone #'s, keyboard commands, are memorable. 

I usually have Steve or someone else take a peek at my picture to make sure it is an okay picture before posting it.   There is a way to describe pictures in the caption, that I hope someone will leave the instructions or a link in the comment section.  I find this helpful on other blogs.  I love posting pictures even though on someone else's blog, I am reading the content and the description more than the pictures.  Inspite blindness, I am a very visual learner and think visually.  I learned braille visually in my mind before I learned how to read by touch.   I can tell you what the braille alphabet looks like even though I still struggle to read Grade 2 braille.  I am a fabulous reader of 'woman' on the restroom or other necessary words.   I recently had someone ask me if I knew what my office looked like.  I smiled - indeed, I decorated it and have blogged about that and so much more.

It also helps to have a sweet little foot warmer, Cricket by my feet while I blog. My blog isn't fancy, but an enjoyable way for me to express my heart. Thank you for reading and sharing your heart.

13 comments:

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

And expressing the heart is what it is all about!

Hugz&Khysses,
Khyra

TOBY PUPPY in SA said...

Hey there Becky!
Thanks for a wonderful post! As a fully able (visually speaking) person, I empathise with your enormous challenges. I also want to repeat a 'Thank you!'- for blogging and sharing your life with us! Thank you!
Unfortunately I can't answer your question about 'descriptions' for photographs.
My blogpost today is one that YOU will hopefully enjoy. Please ask someone to perhaps read the poem to you...so that you can appreciate the cadence...
Question: Do you have a voice prompt computer? - a little 'blind' friend of ours does ALL his computer work through voice prompt.
Thank you again for the insight into your condition ...you are a star and an inspiration!
Keep up the good work - and if there is any way I can help (with limited knowledge), just ask!
Sending lotsaluv
MAXMOM IN SA

verobirdie said...

I was wondering how you manage to blog, and to follow blogs. Glad you explain us how you do: I'm going to search for a way to describe those pictures, and to use it if I find it. At worst, describing as a text is a good option...
Already looking forward to your next post :-)

Beth Finke said...

Becky,
This post is so well-timed! I am scheduled to lead a session on “Blind Blogging” at the Vision Midwest conference in Madison, Wis. This Friday. The session was supposed to be a panel, and I was counting on others to help me explain all the different ways those of us who are blind manage to blog. Just found out the others can’t make the conference, I’m flying solo, leading the session on my own! Am busy packing for the bus ride now but if I have a chance when I’m up in Madison I will look at this again and leave a comment with more details. In short, I ended up learning a bit of html code to be able to create links, add bullets when using lists, put words in bold and italics on my blog posts. Long story of how I managed to learn html, though, will leave that for later, after my bags are packed.
Thanks for this blog post–I hope others response so I’ll have some examples to give the audience Friday.

DCHY said...

I worked with a blind co-worker who would not bother with a monitor on her computer. Always drove me nuts until I asked her how she KNEW where anything was. She explained how it all worked for her.

I will try to be more descriptive with my pictures if I post any on my blog. You can always email me if you need more than few words.

Myrna R. said...

Thank you Becky for this informative post. I am so glad that you do blog. I love hearing about your life, challenges and joys. Express your heart. I think that's what we're all trying to do by blogging.

Katja said...

"There is a way to describe pictures in the caption, that I hope someone will leave the instructions or a link in the comment section."

One option is the long description attribute (which is, unfortunately, poorly supported. Here is an example:

<img src="../images/dog.jpg" height=327 width=291 alt="Becky with Cricket">
[<a href="../longdesc/dog.html">D</a>]

This creates a link next to the image with the text [D]. The link takes the reader to another page (which you also have to write) with a long description of the image.

Another option (which is a good idea to do at all times) is to use the alt attribute. Here is an example:

<img src="../images/dog.jpg" height=327 width=291 alt="Becky with Cricket">

In this case, the alt text ("Becky with Cricket") will:

a) appear to the user in a little box when the cursor rests over the picture and

b) be read out by a screen reader - without any alt text, the screen reader will read out the name of the file containing the image ("link graphic dot dot slash images slash dog")

For more information on making your posts more accessible to readers with visual impairments, look at http://disabilitywebsite.wordpress.com/.

Erin J said...

I use ZoomText too and go about things much the same way you do!

I see someone posted about adding descriptions to pictures already, but if it helps, I wrote a tutorial on my blog once about how to do it.

http://whistlererin.blogspot.com/2009/09/tutorial-alternate-text.html

It gives step-by step instruction especially for those who use Blogger.

Have a fantastic week!

Alphini's Puppy Raiser said...

So interesting, Becky, and thank you for sharing! You are such an inspiration. I am glad that Katja explained how to do the "alt tags"...that is what I use to make my blog more accessible (I hope!)...but I am not always the best at explaining tech stuff like that, hehe! I like to use photos and always think: If I were visually impaired, and relying on a screen reader alone, would I have an idea what this photo is about? I always wonder if I over- or under-describe the photos...at any rate I have fun trying! ;-)

Becky said...

Thanks for your helpful added posts on what helps it to be accessible. And, I am simply touched by so many wanting to make their blogs accessible and to learn. Such kindness. Each of you inspire me!

Ro said...

I was going to link to my alt text tutorial, but others already have so nevermind hehe!

I don't add photos because I never have any. I'll have some soon though. Not sure I'll try the alt text for descriptions, but I'll definitely at least add a caption. I'll be relying on the person sending me the photos to describe them in email so I can add some sort of description when I post them.

I use Apple's Voiceover screen reading software to do everything online. I have my word processing program open at all times with a document called "blog post". When I feel like writing, I go delete the last post and start my fresh post. This way I can quickly save the blog post if I'm not going to post it right away, and it's also easier for me to edit it in my word processing application. I actually only started doing this after a Safari updated caused my screen reader to go a little hinky in text edit fields.

I really find that technique handy though, and will continue to write posts that way. Once the post is done and edited, I just select all the text, copy it, and paste it into Blogger. I do all that with keyboard short cuts. I can bang out a post and publish it in about ten minutes.

I just memorized the html code for adding links. I was using Blogger's link thing but it's just faster for me to type it.

I control my computer with just the keyboard. I don't use a mouse at all. On my Blogger dashboard, I use a link chooser menu to get to the last blog in my reading list, which happens to be your 'Words of Resilience'. So I just open the link chooser menu, type in "wo" and bam, I'm at my list of blogs.

I find Blogger to be easier to navigate than Wordpress and I find it easier to subscribe to comments with Blogger. That could just be because I started with Blogger, who knows.

Interesting post!

Brooke said...

Thank you for sharing this. It was so interesting for me to read and think about. I love that you blog. You have such an interesting and positive spirit, and I just love reading everything that you have to say.

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