While sitting with a good friend one day enjoying her company, she asked me about my phone and to how much I was able to use it. She wondered if she were to send me a web link to something, would my phone read it to me.
At the time of our talk, I just responded with a simple explanation that my phone reads any text on the screen, and that I can navigate all of my phone’s apps, settings and features. It was a rather short conversation and we moved onto something else.
Though it was not much of a conversation, it sparked an idea in my mind to put on a brave face and create a video to share on social media. I wanted to demonstrate to sighted individuals how exactly someone who is blind uses an iPhone.
I recalled in times past when other sighted family members, friends and acquaintances would ask me questions about technology as it relates to blindness.
As someone who has been totally blind since birth, everything I encounter filters though the lens of a person having no idea what visual stimuli is like. I try really hard to remember that most of the world benefits from visuals to help them understand – and this was my first video’s main intention.
I did not at all expect the overwhelming response I received all over social media after my video was posted.
Making the Most of Going Viral
I’m still processing all of this. I feel motivated to regularly post videos with my interactions with technologies, apps and websites. I plan to review their accessibility and how some things can be improved.
Perhaps this is a ripple effect, a tiny pebble tossed alongside other pebbles creating ripples in the ocean of life. Change that, while working together, creates waves of awareness and action so that those of us who are blind and visually impaired can bring accessibility awareness to software developers and engineers creating inclusive technology, web design and app development.
And doing my part to advocate for accessibility in a very visual world for those of us who are not visual thinkers and learners also provides purpose and enjoyment for me.
As much as I look forward to the growth and progression of accessibility as it relates to technology for the blind and visually impaired community, I also maintain an overwhelming gratitude for all of the current ways in which technology is very accessible and for all of the hard work put into making it that way.
I look forward to what’s still to come for technology and accessibility as it continues to enrich the lives of those who use it – and open the eyes of sighted people to see the ways we use technology.
About the Author
Kristy is 34 years old and has been totally blind since birth. Her interests include: music of all kinds (Pop and Rock Alternative are favorites), animals (especially cats), technology (particularly Apple products), the outdoors (especially in the spring and fall), reading (especially the feeling of a really good novel that is hard to put down) and movies and TV shows (especially now that there is so much audio description!).
She has two fun, friendly and entertaining cats that she cares for and that provide a sense of fulfillment and purpose. She also has a fun, kind and very intelligent boyfriend who also provides her with a sense of fulfillment and purpose.