Inaccessible Websites: Time For Passivity Is Over
My hackles are up - so get ready.
It was recommended to me a few weeks ago to sign up for a course on the oprah.com website. The course is called, “Thrive” by Ariana Huffington. I respect Ariana and Oprah immensely, so I signed up. To my dismay, it was inaccessible to me. Let me be clear; I am not angry with Oprah or Ariana. This is not the only well-known, large website that I find virtually impossible to navigate with a screen reader. I am sure you know the ones that I am talking about. They are the ones you never attempt visiting without help. If you do attempt to venture onto one and there is a hammer nearby, your computer is at great risk.
The course started last week and every day I attempted to participate. The definition of “insanity” is doing the same behavior over and over again and expecting a different result. I think I have learned now that my result will be the same. I will not be able to participate in this course without significant help.
I don’t want help! I want to do it by myself! I want the same choices any other person has! I am an intelligent, curious person and I want to access the same materials for learning that everyone else has!
What are we as a community going to do about this? I am and was guilty of turning away and taking the attitude that this issue is too big for me to take on. I do not want to remain passive anymore. Blind people are intelligent and have big ideas. It is time to stand up together and respectfully offer our skills and ideas to these larger websites. It is time to make more noise. I have no interest in being disrespectful or angry. That is not helpful. We as a community need to show the world that we want to be heard, we want to participate and we want change. We are not going to turn our heads away to tackle this problem and let’s do it with some real class.
I propose that each of us contact these website owners in any way that we can, even if we must ask for help to do it. Write an e-mail stating that you are blind and would like to have access to their website to be able to navigate their site with your screen reader. If you needed help to even contact them, perhaps you should include that in your email. There is no need for anger, just state the facts and ask for it to be rectified. Tell them exactly where the problems are so they can understand the issue. Perhaps you want to tell them that they can contact you so you can explain why you can’t access their website and materials.
If all of us do this as often as we can, I believe there will be forward movement. The only way to change something is to be noticed. If these websites get enough feedback, they will understand that there is a problem – it’s not just one person but a community of people – and they will not be able to turn their heads away from the problem.
It is up to us to create choices for ourselves. Let’s prove our power with class and dignity.
Are you with me? Mel Scott BlindAlive, LLC Founder and President BlindAlive.com Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Mel Scott BlindAlive, LLC Founder and President BlindAlive.com Facebook Twitter LinkedIn