Changes to E-bay cause Accessibility Barriers

I myself do a whole lot of shopping on line and find different levels of accessibility.  Some sites work very well, all forms are correctly tagged and functional.  Others work, but with some effort to get around some accessibility barriers.  I use amazon, e-toys, and up until recently was a big user on e-bay.  There are so many benefits to shopping on line.  It saves the hassle of scheduling transportation, dealing with customer service at the stores, and not really knowing all of your choices.  On line, I can compare prices, see all items I want and their descriptions, and have them delivered to my doorstep with ease. So here’s my beef with e-bay.  I hadn’t shopped on there for some time, quite simply because it is addictive and I was spending too much money.  You can’t pass up great deals after all!  So yesterday, I was looking for a good deal on a specific item for my daughter, went to e-bay and was a little dismayed at some changes they have made.  First of all, they have added a lot more graphics that are untagged and all over the place on the page.  They have also incorporated more layout tables, causing jaws to spit out unnecessary table information with empty rows and columns.  They have no skip to main content, so when I want to see an item and its description, I have to weigh through all of the graphics and empty tables to get to what I need.  The headings are still there, which is great, but even skipping by heading doesn’t get me past quickly to the information I’m seeking.  I can still shop and complete my purchase, but it requires more effort than it used to, and it is extremely tedious. 

Will I still shop at e-bay?  Probably, but perhaps not as often, I don’t have the time to take forever to get information, no matter how great the deals are.  I’m not sure what prompted them to make these changes, but from my standpoint, they decreased their accessibility.  So what can one do when you find yourself in this situation?  Who do you talk to?  How can you tactfully tell a big business like this that they’ve lost my few cents because they have become inaccessible to me?  Knowbility surely can help improve the site, but the company has to be open and want to become accessible.  I would love to see a procedure in place to help anyone report somewhere or talk to someone who can help if they encounter problems accessing any web site for any reason.  This is just one example, but I find sites often that I can’t easily get information I need or want, sometimes I don’t get it at all.  Obviously the more accessible a site is to me, the more I will use it, and I believe that is important to any business, no matter how big.  It is us little people who make them what they are.

Living with the visually impaired

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d live with someone who couldn’t see. My roommate is not completely blind but he can’t see past his feet. The first few weeks of living with him I treated him as if he was completely blind telling him where things were, worrying about him in the grocery store when we went shopping, and not letting him out of my sight because he’ll never see me again if we got more then 9 feet away. I’m not sure if he laughs at that now or rolls his eyes. Like most blind people my roommate is very self sufficient. I believe when I first moved in I was nerves. I wasn’t sure how much to help him or not. I’m naturally helpful and didn’t realize I was being overly helpful and that it annoyed him. I naturally feel silly now for constantly tying to watch out for him, like a mom or something. It wasn’t till about 3 weeks in did I start letting go of the instinct to do everything for him. I wasn’t thinking of putting myself in his shoes and how annoying I could be. Now me and my roommate constantly joke about him being blind and a total nerd. More on him being a nerd and living off cereal and how he really needs to take one of his dairy cows home from his dad’s farm, because he literally goes through gallon a day. Honestly I have to remind myself now that he’s visually impaired. He’s just like a regular roommate I just can’t expect him to know what’s in my hand from across the room or how I look before going out. :P

Colorblind no more!

My roommate Zack has a cornea disorder where his cornea constantly changes. I was talking to him over the weekend and he was joking about how my shirt was torn in half from working out. I had a workout waist band on and a workout bra. I was extremely confused with his joke, and thought it was a little weird because my bra is purple and the band is blue. I looked at him like he was crazy and that that was the worst joke I’ve ever heard. He must’ve read my face because immediately he apologized and explained that after his first cornea surgery he became a little colorblind.

Zack had a hard time telling the difference in my purple bra and blue band. He also explained that it doesn’t effect him until he’s embarrassed with a situation like that. He can tell the colors by their hues. He says most colors to him are all brown. He says he misses being able to see colors. I just recently heard of this new color blind correction called ColorCorrector. It’s a guaranteed success. “Azman Eye Care Specialists is the only office in the world with the ColorCorrection System™, an advanced combination of unique tests and filters for color vision correction. With our comprehensive color-vision testing, the ColorCorrection System can determine the proper filters for enhanced color vision.”

Available in spectacles or contact lenses makes this procedure surgery-free and still allows a person to see in color.

Silent Disabilities

Last week I came to a realization when meeting the newest staff member here at Knowbility, after hearing about her situations with her current employers. I completely knew where she was coming from and realized that is one of the original reasons i came to work with Knowbility. I’m both Dyslexic and ADD, but I have a different sort of dyslexia that a lot of people don’t understand. I have Graphic Dyslexia, this is where I actually look at equations like 42-2 and instead of counting down from 42 I start from 40 and will add 2 my brain is naturally inclined to think and do the opposite of things.

Even though I can hide and suppress these disabilities from employers but they do come out and have to be addressed. I’ve been at many work places where they classify me as useless or stupid because of my disability. I’m constantly faced with the choice of explaining my disability to start with or saving it for a later time, and risk not being hired do to my dyslexia. Employers worried about me messing up numbers and mishandling money, even though I’ve never been short on any of the registers I’ve ever worked at. They feel that I’m an inconvenience because of my disability, and when talking to our new colleague I was reminded of the situations people like me and her face when getting employed or being employed.  Her most recent employer cut her hours back once she asked for accomodation. I myself have faced the same situation but not only does management see you as an inconvenience but coworkers do too. I have actually been called straight up stupid by a girl I once worked with after accidentally getting an argument of hers mixed up in my head. I had actually understood her argument the opposite of what she was arguing against, and was arguing against her when she agreed with me completely. I felt silly, but this happens a lot with me. It is part of my dyslexia. I’m not stupid nor was I not listening to her, but it was my head playing games with me like punching in a phone # backwards after it being repeated to you, or even trying to spell things out loud.

Its extremely frustrating because before opening my mouth or reading or listening to a person I must think it over a few times before giving an answer, making sure not make a fool of myself. Even though I look fine and talk fine I’m marked with a very debilitating disability in the work world. I’m a high risk employee even though I’m extremely qualified. Me and my new colleague alike both have a very hard time asking for help or explaining why things might’ve gone wrong or come in late or why we must work at home. We don’t want to feel like an inconvenience and risk being fired.

Survey monkey swings accessibly

      A few months ago, I had tried to do a few things using the site called survey monkey.  I had tried creating my own survey, as well as taking surveys and had little success.  The forms were not tagged, the check boxes not labeled, and some of the buttons were not correctly marked.  It was quite frustrating, so many times inaccessible surveys make you shy away from taking any, even when you know your opinions and such would be valuable. For these reasons, I was happy to see a survey produced on survey monkey that was made accessible!  Each form was tagged, so that no matter what method I chose to use, my screen reader easily announced the questions and choices I had.  Every check box reminded me of the question, told me my choice and whether or not the box was checked.  The next buttons were clear, as well as the previous.  There was excellent use of headers, so I could do a headings search, a forms search and links list and easily navigate to wherever I needed. I have yet to try creating my own survey using this tool, but at least steps have been taken to improve the accessibility of the surveys.  Eventually, entering in data into survey monkey may become accessible as well.  Whatever further work may be done, the accessible survey I took is a fantastic start.