Articles, Newsletters, Podcasts, and Video

The Reality of Being A Blind Healthcare Worker – Guest Post by Anneliese

By Ami / 2022-04-29
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As a blind healthcare worker, Anneliese talks about both good and bad experiences, and shares a unique light on being a blind superhero.

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The Reality of Being A Blind Healthcare Worker – Guest Post by Anneliese

By Ami / 2022-04-29
Posted in

As a blind healthcare worker, Anneliese talks about both good and bad experiences, and shares a unique light on being a blind superhero.

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Doing Your Thing With Disability: Question Living Blind & Famous

By T.Reid / 2022-04-27
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We reached the final episode of the season where we salute and recognize individuals who are pursuing their interests and goals not in spite of their disability but rather with it. The difference may seem minor to some, but if you’re someone who wants to see disability normalized in society then you probably recognize this […]

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Doing Your Thing With Disability: We Play Too

By T.Reid / 2022-04-13
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From all sorts of sports and activities to video games; people with disabilities find ways to not only play, but excel. In this latest episode [Accessibility Consultant Brandon Cole](http://BrandonCole dotnet/) joins me to talk about the various barriers, adaptations and finally, accessibility, being built into video games. We’ll hear from players like Orlando Johnson. Once […]

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Making a Case for Self-Description: It’s Not About Eye Candy

By Alice Wong / 2022-04-12
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Making a Case for Self-Description: It’s Not About Eye Candy

 

Thomas Reid

 

When the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020, the world changed forever and a spotlight shined on systemic inequality in areas such as the following: 

Police brutality and systematic racism Inequitable healthcare Overworked and dissatisfied employees

That spotlight radiated outward enabling others to see new possibilities. Working from home, an accommodation to some and

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Doing Your Thing With Disability: Marguerite Woods – Here I Am

By T.Reid / 2022-03-09
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Can I kick it? (Yes you can!) Welcome to the kick off episode for the first season of 2022; Doing Your Thing with Disability! In this series, we’re not talking about overcoming blindness, getting passed our disability, no, we’re going to hear from some awesome people who do the things they love to do and […]

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Playing Games in the Dark – One Blind Gamer Reviews Accessibility Features

By Chad Bouton / 2022-02-15
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Anytime I say I’m a blind gamer, people are perplexed and don’t understand why I would even want to attempt playing video games.

The first thing people need to understand is that the word blind encompasses a broad range of visual disabilities. Being legally blind and completely blind are two different things, but both come with challenges and frustrations. Prevailing public perception is that gaming is limited to those with sight.  

It’s only within the last six years that the gaming industry has seen an increase in AAA games featuring accessibility options. I recently played three of PlayStation 5’s popular titles and will discuss them from the perspective of a legally blind gamer. 

Having just completed a play-through of the original 2002 game, I can attest to how far Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart has come regarding accessibility. Rift Apart brings new accessibility options that make it accessible to those gamers with some sight retained. Unfortunately, this game is not playable for those totally blind.  Let me highlight the accessibility options. 

Upon confirming your save slot, you’re able to select game difficulty. Depending on what you pick, the game boots up with certain accessibility options enabled. I appreciate this because there is no menu narration available to assist blind gamers for setup.  

The Heads Up display option displays way-markers on screen, and the Look At Waypoint feature turns the camera in the direction of your current objective. Game traversal is made easy using simplified traversal segments.  

I struggle with assessing in-game environments, like the difference between myself and my enemies. That is why color contrast options are a favorite setting. Here I can make Ratchet appear with a blue highlight and select alternate colors for enemies, interactable elements, hazards, and collectibles – allowing me to progress through the game confidently. 

Combat is one of the most accessible features. The game employs aim assistance and auto-targeting and is capable of adjusting camera speed and weapon reticle (the circle and lines of the sight), keeping enemies center screen. The game can also turn the camera towards the nearest enemy when shooting. 

Additionally, the game can automatically lock onto enemies while aiming and Melee attacks (close quarters attacks) are performed automatically. Though easy for me, some will struggle with a lack of navigation assistance.

Out of all the games highlighted in this article, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is the best at helping visually impaired players with game progression – using game dialog. If stuck or you don’t know what to do, listen to your fellow guardians to get hints. 

Additionally, game protagonist Star Lord’s visor allows for items to be interacted with and scanned, which provides additional object information. This functions as a high color contrast mode, allowing objects and structures to be highlighted in blue, pink, and yellow. Unlike Rift Apart, the visor cannot be toggled indefinitely, limiting its usage. 

You have complete control of how combat takes place.  Whatever combat experience you’re looking for, you have control to tailor the game to your style of play.  I do want to highlight one feature of this game that is better than Rift Apart. While both bring impressive auto-aiming and targeting options, when destroying structures, Guardians of the Galaxy excels at targeting destructible elements. 

Far Cry 6 had the potential to be playable by any gamer regardless of their disability, and I was excited about the accessibility options, most notably Menu Narration.  Sadly, from the moment I started using this setting my excitement dwindled.

The poorly optimized text-to-speech features were a letdown. I appreciate that tutorial text and changes to objectives were narrated, but there were instances where user interface elements were not. On several occasions, I was prompted to press ok but had no idea what for. 

I appreciate the high color contrast mode as I find this setting crucial to my play style. Additionally, I like the ability to turn off camera shake and blur. I am a big fan of motor presets, so it was awesome to disable weapon sway, increase weapon reticle size and change color, allowing me to manually aim weapons. 

Auto-drive and aim while driving took this game from ‘no way I can play’ to, ‘ok let’s try’. Sadly, the lack of relevant navigation assistance limits accessibility settings and blind gamers wouldn’t get past the opening. 

Developers are actively trying to understand accessibility but may not fully understand that vision loss needs to be looked at as a spectrum.  Each individual living with vision loss has a different level of visual acuity. Visually impaired gamers want more games like The Last of Us Part II and not Forza Horizon 5.  

We do not want the game to play for us. Visually impaired gamers want to play as manually as possible, with the right mix of support to enable proper gameplay and progression.

At the end of the day, we want to feel like we earned our victories and progress through our own actions.


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The post Playing Games in the Dark – One Blind Gamer Reviews Accessibility Features appeared first on The Unwritten.

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Blind Frat Bro Uses Guide Dog to Navigate Around Town, Into Women’s DMs

By 2shoes4eyes / 2022-02-13
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“It’s not fair!” complained Omicron Delta Alpha fraternity brother Jack Meeks. “What more can a guy ask for? Women go gaga over his blindy-can’t-see condition and Compass, his cutesy dog with the handle. Donovan’s so lucky he’s blind. All of these women flock to him!”

Donovan Mason, who’s legally blind, sort of agrees. “Let’s face it: Going blind sucks. And when there’s no cure, you sink into depression, wondering just how much you’re going to see today,” he said. “It’s only because of Compass that my life is way more tolerable. He guides me everywhere, and I mean everywhere …”

Compass confirms that he does navigate Mason safely around town. But, unbeknownst to the innocent canine, he also doubles as a wing-dog, helping his handler find his way into women’s hearts. “I do what? I’m not sure what you mean by ‘into women’s hearts’ (in dog paw air quotes). I just wag my tail, pant a bit and look adoringly into these gorgeous women’s faces who go awww,” woofed Compass, puzzled.

According to the agencies that train guide dogs, service dogs are not to be fed, talked to or touched while they have their harness on and are doing their job.

“Sssshhhh,” said Mason sheepishly with his finger on his mouth and a twinkle in his eye. “Service animals aren’t ‘technically’ (in human finger air quotes) supposed to be petted when they are on duty because they need to concentrate, but technically that doesn’t mean they can’t be used as a dating tool. I’ve trained Compass to lead me to them hot women and into their love nest! Women just love Compass and petting him, and that almost always leads to petting me in the bedroom! Keep this off the record, please!”

Indeed, Compass has helped Mason restore both his confidence and his independence to where they were prior to his vision loss — and sometimes beyond. “I can’t imagine life without Compass. I don’t recommend going blind, but an adorable guide dog makes it all worth it!” said Mason gratefully. “I get laid every day, and sometimes twice a day if I am feeling extra blind and he’s feeling extra cute. Women fall for … oh, excuse me … I gotta let Compass guide me across the street. I sense a beautiful girl on the other side.”

The post Blind Frat Bro Uses Guide Dog to Navigate Around Town, Into Women’s DMs appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.

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Despite Super Cool Sunglasses, Old Blind Guy is Actually Not that Cool

By 2shoes4eyes / 2022-02-10
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“Cowabunga! Check out this groovy-looking dude!” thought Peter Cooper, giving his reflection a Jeremiah Johnson nod of approval before heading to his 50th class reunion. “Golly gosh gee, I look as good as I did when I was Prom King — still smashing!”

Diagnosed at age five with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative genetic disorder of the eye, Cooper has “tunnel vision” and is also sensitive to light. But he never let blindness define him. He let his coolness, shades and confidence do the talking. Movies had taught him that cool glasses turn a blind man from a sob story to a badass hero.

Resisting the urge to smooch himself in the mirror (again), Cooper donned his suave-looking dark blue classic Ray-Ban Stories Wayfarer sunglasses, grabbed his white cane and, after another 30 minutes of self-admiration, finally made his way out the door.

When he entered the reunion, his classmates gawked at his stylish sense of fashion. “Check him out, he must be so cool!” he overheard.

Cooper, 66, interjected the evening’s conversation with words like “coolio” and “awesomesauce,” and he made sure he described his former women classmates as “hotties.” He could feel his panache level skyrocketing with the brand new vocabulary he had Googled and memorized that morning. He was up with the times!

As Cooper continued talking, he realized no one was actually listening or, at the very least, fawning over him.

“Great to see you and all, but where did you get those sunglasses?” said Allison King, ogling his Ray-Bans.

“He seemed so cool from a distance, but once we started talking I realized he was kind of, I don’t know, boring?” said another classmate. “I guess I just assumed from his disability that he would have some awesome backstory or offer me wise advice, but it was mostly just awkward chitchat. He was so basic and, honestly, I was let down.”

The post Despite Super Cool Sunglasses, Old Blind Guy is Actually Not that Cool appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.

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If Williams Met Woodard – A Black History Mash Up

By T.Reid / 2022-02-09
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Dropping a bonus episode, right on time for Black History Month. While I love programming that features the Black experience, it doesn’t always leave me feeling uplifted. Sometimes it stirs me to imagine alternative outcomes. Endings where we can honestly say, we won that! A win, in my mind is sadly, way too simple. Can […]

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