[BCAB] How expert do blind people have to be?

Colin Phelan Colin_Phelan at pmlgroup.com
Wed Dec 13 16:55:54 GMT 2017


Hi Graham,
What stands out is I think you should choose your pubs more carefully.
Interestingly I have used supanova for 20 years and it only supports IE! So that would mean changing screen reader and browser.
For some on this list tec is the end result whilst for others it is a means to an end.
Clearly if your business is teaching tec or selling tec then it is more vital to keep right up to date.
I am on a laptop 10 hours a day give or take so when that is done I have lost my desire to improve my knowledge and choose to focus on another area of life feeling that more than enough time has been spent on a screen so to speak.
Kind Regards 
Colin  

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Graham Page
Sent: 12 December 2017 16:36
To: 'BCAB Discussion List' <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>
Subject: Re: [BCAB] How expert do blind people have to be?

Of course different people will have different aptitudes and people have different areas of interest.  I have however taught people who will only navigate a site by rote.  They want to know how many times to press tab, how and when to press enter on a field, to input a user name for example and when to do what in general.

I try to tell people that this is not a good way of working because if a website changes then that method of working won't work.  They need to understand the concept of a web page, the different kinds of elements that might appear on a web page and how to navigate the page.  It's not that easy for some and maybe there is a different way of explaining it.  I get people to start off imagining a sheet of paper with writing on it, some of it has different colours and clicking on this takes you to another web page on the same web site or somewhere else.  These highlighted words are hyperlinks.
Of course later you can mention that some of the information on the page is in fact editable by you.  On google there is a search box for example.

This approach does take a little mental agility however.  Some people start off by assuming they will never really grasp the web and this is a self fulfilling prophecy if it is really what someone thinks.

I don't think the concepts are actually that hard to grasp.  I can clearly remember using the internet in 1990 as a student when Janet was the thing.
The idea of having loads of information at my finger tips that I had never been able to access was encouragement enough for me.  In East London where I live I've met people in pubs who boast about the amount of money they have made in gangs and the like without being able to read and write so I guess it depends to some extent what floats your boat.  I come across people who have lost sight in their 70-s who have never used a computer even though they have been in the work place for over 30 years  and the internet has been available widely for home use for well over 15 years.  I must admit that I don't meet many people who have never written letters and emails who take to it once they lose sight.

Cheers

Graham 

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Derek Hornby
Sent: 12 December 2017 14:58
To: 'BCAB Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [BCAB] How expert do blind people have to be?

David says


"Of course, it's up to each individual how competent they want to be,"

But is it? 

One  doesn't chose one's  abilities, confidence level.

Derek 
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of David Taylor
Sent: 12 December 2017 12:10 PM
To: BCAB Discussion List <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>
Subject: [BCAB] How expert do blind people have to be?

The recent discussion on Windows, screen readers and so on, has got me thinking on this, and I think there are points we need to consider, that we aren't. How we respond to them is up for debate.


Firstly, there is the level of competition we want. If we want competition in screen readers, browsers, whatever, then, by definition, we get differences between them, some being better at some things, others at different things, and the potential of anybody who needs to do both sets of things having to know all the technologies simply to be able to do all those things.


At the other end of the spectrum, we could go for a one screen reader that everyone works on, that can be made really good at everything.


Whatever you go for, the fact of the matter is, blindness makes us work in very different ways. Hearing and sight work in totally different ways, and force that on us. With sight, you consciously choose where to direct your attention, but you can scan very quickly. With hearing, you don't have a choice, but you hear everything. Therefore, screen readers have to try and mimic a sense that we just don't have. They do a pretty good job of guessing where our focus needs to be, but there's always that thing that we have to move in much more granular ways than sighted people do, and it is therefore inevitable that there will always be a lot more for us to learn.


I'm sorry to say this, and I know I'm going to get criticised for it, but, however hard we work on making things better, there are always new things to deal with, and, quite frankly, new things to have to learn. 
This is always more true for blind people than sighted people, we have to learn a new screen reader, operating system, piece of  software, route to a new office or whatever, in a much more painstaking way than sighted people.


Of course, it's up to each individual how competent they want to be, but the absolute fact is, blind people have to work harder to keep up, in all areas of life. There is no point expecting or pretending that this will ever be any different, it just needs to be accepted. If you won't put in that extra effort, you are simply going to fail to be able to keep up.


In saying that, I am not saying we should give up on trying to make things better, far from it, we should probably do more. However, we will never get to a situation where people can stick with one screen reader, not keep it up to date, and be able to keep up, it's just not the way technology works


Cheers

Dave



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