Re: Admin's Notes Re List Conduct, Please Read #adminnotice

Devin Prater

For me, this is pretty simple. When working with sighted people, I ask a lot of questions, like "what do you see?" "Is {this} on the screen?" "Can you click {this}?" and give instructions based on that. With blind people, I tell them to use the Tab key or other navigation methods to find things, have them press Insert + Tab to see where they are, and go from there. Sure, I might have to give keyboard instruction to sighted users if I really have no idea what's happening, and they're unable to tell me clearly enough.

My point is, use whatever works in context. If I'm reading an article online written by one of the millions of tech news sources out there, it's probably meant for a sighted audience, so I must take whatever keywords I can find and work with whatever application based on "clicking" menu items, and such terminology. But when I read things from blind people, I expect to read a straightforward, keyboard-driven account of how to get things done. Sure, I wouldn't want "in this dialog, press tab, tab, tab, tab, tab..." but I would want something I can follow from point to point, if that makes sense. Either way, even if I read "click file, scroll down to "open" and click that, then scroll down and click "recents," then click "Adonalsium.docx." Then I can follow it, but I know not everyone can, even though I suspect "scroll down" wouldn't be there if a sighted person were writing it. It's all about getting from "file" to "open" to "recent" and so on. "Clicking" is understandable, it's everything else that sometimes isn't. I can mess around until I find it, usually. But not everyone has that kind of perseverance when it comes to computers, and I think we should respect that and not be so hard on these people. I mean, they might be trying to get work done and may not have time to mess around or translate sighted jargon. Although I admit, we blind people probably have five times the amount of jargon that sighted people have. Also, I would hope no blind people would use the deliberately obscure, for us, language of "hamburger icon," "paperclip icon," and such like that, unless the screen reader reads it like that. And in some mobile apps, it does. But I've never ran across that in a desktop app. I mean, it's simply needlessly obscure for the simple goal of making the writer of the instructions look knowledgeable and smart, but doesn't help the reader at all, unless the reference is defined, like "click the hamburger (settings) icon. I could use that. I get the motivation of wanting to know what is actually on the screen. That's why I wish screen readers conveyed formatting information through changes in pitch, volume, or intonation, like Narrator and Emacspeak do. But not everyone has the visual understanding of what things look like, and your idea of what a screen looks like, if you are totally blind, may be wrong. An icon you believe to be on the left side of the screen may actually be on the right, or on the bottom of the application window. An icon you believe to be a hamburger icon may be a gear icon. So, there goes the visual paradigm that you've been instructing with.

So, when working with sighted people, I believe it's perfectly fine to ask and describe visually. But when working with totally blind people, especially those who have been blind all of their lives, it would be just fine if keyboard-driven instructions are used.
Devin Prater

On Mon, Jan 4, 2021 at 11:12 AM Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:
On Mon, Jan 4, 2021 at 11:59 AM, Orlando Enrique Fiol wrote:
The most annoying inanity I experience as a blind bard in a sighted world is the presumption that I should be able to understand color.
Oh, I can believe that.  But, in an effort to perhaps make you less frustrated, a lot of times for a sighted person, even when we're working with someone who's blind, and we know all this will still pop out with a, "the red X at the upper right corner of the window," because it is, in the context of computing, automatic language.  It's really not unlike the exchange, "How are you?," "I'm fine, thanks," when everyone knows that the first question is not literal nor is the answer, generally.  It's an automatic script that is sometimes hard to suppress.

Some of the longest conversations I've had with a very dear friend of mine who's been totally blind since birth, and who's my Mom's age, have been about the chasm that is color.  As you have said elsewhere, she can certainly understand that it constitutes a classification based on vision as an abstraction, but it is absolutely impossible for it to be anything else.   Even for the sighted, color description except within classes such as blue, red, etc., is exceedingly difficult when you get into shades, tints, and variations on a color.  And they all get described mostly using whatever the base color is.  I could no sooner describe blue, just plain blue, to someone sighted than I could to someone blind.  It is a visual axiom - you simply recognize it - you don't really have any way to describe it other than itself.  There are many aspects of vision that cannot be translated in any meaningful way to language and the same is true (as you'd well know) of sound.  Most sound descriptions related to instrumental characteristics are well-nigh impossible to describe as other than, "it sounds like . . ."  The complexities involved in what actually creates that sound are, even if qualified in language quite precisely, not anything like hearing it.  They are their own auditory axioms.

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

The depths of denial one can be pushed to by outside forces of disapproval can make you not even recognize yourself to yourself.

       ~ Brian Vogel


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