Re: explaining screen reader to sighted people

farhan israk

Thank you. Recently, I faced two interviews. Their expression was like I am the first blind person that they have ever met. I tried to explain both orally and demonstrate what a screen reader is and how blind people use computers. However,  none of them worked.
They concluded that I will need more time to perform any task than a sighted person. So, they are not interested in moving forward.
Wel, I live in Bangladesh. I am planning to create a video where I will demonstrate how a blind person uses a computer and post it to social media such as linkedin.

On Tue, Jan 31, 2023 at 10:11 PM JM Casey <jmcasey@...> wrote:

Yeah, it’s sort of funny when I thinka bout it, but the amount of surprise and bemusement when I explain to someone about a screen-reader is still about the same as it was in the early 90s. Maybe ther’es a somewhat increased likelihood that someone might have a basic understanding of such things, but it is a tiny increase, if anything. Suppose it also depends on where you are in the world, too. But it’s definitely an extreme novelty to most people and utterly incomprehensible, sometimes even after you attempt to explain it, unless they see it in action.



From: <> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: January 31, 2023 10:49 AM
Subject: Re: [chat] explaining screen reader to sighted people


On Tue, Jan 31, 2023 at 04:12 AM, Brian's Mail list account wrote:

Oh, is this still a thing.

Of it's "still a thing."  There are many people who do not know, personally, a single blind person, let alone know the technologies that they might use.  You're a tiny minority and could very well be the first person the "explainee" has ever encountered that uses a screen reader.  That is a novelty, and in the context of employment (and you could be the first blind employee) a reasonable accommodation.

The explanation to a sighted person can be very brief:  The screen reader allows me to use the computer in the same way you do, but by ear rather than by eye.

More can be offered if curiosity is shown, but you're not trying to give a training class in screen reader use, you're just trying to give a "quick and comprehensible" explanation of how that technology fits into your world.

I do not know how you can say, "we are or should be so far into the online digital world, that these adaptations should be commonplace."  There just aren't that many of you to begin with, relative to the population as a whole.  No one is going to spend money on adaptations that are not needed by their current employees when those adaptations are expensive, no matter what those happen to be.

When it comes to adaptations that focus on a single employee or a very, very small cadre of employees, it's always going to be a "case by case" basis because that's the only thing that makes sense.  I worked in state agencies that specialized in disability services, where accommodations of all sorts were common, but they were obtained for employee X or Y when they were on-boarded, and most often because that individual could (and did) clearly understand what they needed to do the job and communicated that.

There is never coming a time where niche needs are going to be consistently and always available when the actual instance of an actual instance of that need is very seldom occurring.  It's not cost effective, nor is it useful - to anyone - when assistive tech is just lying about gathering dust and no one even knows what it's about or why it's there.

Self-advocacy is something you are saddled with whether you like it or not.  Get good at it.

Brian Virginia, USA Windows 11 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 22H2, Build 22621; Office 2016, Version 16.0.15726.20188, 32-bit; Android 12 (MIUI 13)

The modern era has not eliminated faith--you could no more eliminate faith than love.  Even atheists believe in atheism.  The modern era has simply replaced spiritual faith in God with secular faith in man.

         ~ Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople (1997)

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