It was with some disappointment that I read the letter to the Editor entitled “Bureaucrats leading the blind?” At first, I really struggled to understand why it should seem like such an imposition to expect web sites which provide such important services to be usable by all.
But then one line in the letter jumped out at me. The author writes: “Could FitsNews web site be accessible to the blind, for example?” Actually, it turns out that indeed it is. It’s very accessible, in fact, as are countless web sites for that matter. I am actually totally blind myself, and read this letter independently with my screen reading software. I found a link to the letter while browsing twitter, and the link was posted by another blind person.
FitsNews was one of many web sites that I have visited today, shortly after buying several books for the Kindle app on my iPhone (an app that Amazon similarly resisted making accessible for quite a long time). I am able to book airline tickets, participate in social networks, play games, and do just about anything else that any other internet user in this country would expect to be able to do. Therefore, why shouldn’t I fully expect to be able to prepare my taxes online as well? It doesn’t take a lot to make online resources accessible to blind users. There is no reason not to make the effort.
That letter simply demonstrates a lack of understanding about the technological capabilities that are available to us. I don’t really even hold it against the writer, who couldn’t fairly be expected to know that these things can be done unless they happen to personally know someone who is blind. But the takeaway from this misunderstanding can be useful in many situations. When thinking about commenting on something, keep in mind that there may be quite a bit more to the story than initially meets the eye, and those extra details that you are missing may make all the difference.
Hey Justin – Thank you for taking the time to submit your thoughts. Yours is a perspective our readers need to hear – and you advance it exceedingly well.