11 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2016
    1. However, not all designers are aware of how their choices affect accessibility. Universal design is design that involves conscious decisions about accessibility for all, and it is a philosophy that should be adopted more widely by digital humanities scholars.

      Universal design is such a great idea, but I also think it is way harder to achieve than we think. Nonetheless, it's important that tech writers start to develop content having the idea of universal design in mind and trying to meet as many needs as possible. For example, providing videos for the deaf and hearing aids for the blind.

    2. To embrace accessibility is to focus design efforts on people who are disabled, ensuring that all barriers have been removed.

      Universal design is not to specifically have those with disabilities specifically in mind, but to design with the idea of all products and environment can be usable to as many people as possible. This is such a challenge because "one size fits all" rarely works for as many people as it's intended to reach, but yet it's a start to help those who need assistance. After all, technology is here to assist.

    3. We might consider, however, that there is no “natural” way to interact with the 1’s and 0’s that make up the data we are interested in creating, transmitting, receiving, and using; there is only the model we have chosen to think of as natural. All technology is assistive, in the end.

      Because technology is a huge part of our lives, we tend to confuse it as "natural" or becoming apart of us. But we need to separate ourselves from technology for a second and remind ourselves that it isn't natural and that it's sole purpose at the end of the day is to assist. There is so much work that goes into technology and tech writing in order for it to run smoothly and be structured in a way that we subconsciously confuse with nature. Somehow, the trick here is to get technology to become natural for those with disabilities... but how? To be determined...

    4. Walter Ong famously wrote, “Technologies are artificial, but …artificiality is natural to humans” (81)

      This quote above is so on point because it's true that as technical writers you deal with a lot of artificial content that needs to be modified in a way that become so easy to access, sort of like second nature to your audience. They feel like it's an easy breezy almost natural experience to browse your site or easily skim through a manual, but it's only because a tech writer applied his talents in order for it to seem that way.

    5. To solve this problem, we inserted a tiny image—a transparent GIF exactly one pixel square, to be exact—at the beginning of each page with an alt attribute that read, “Skip to main content.” This image would be invisible to sighted users, but those listening to the page with screen-reading software—which reads aloud the alt attributes of images embedded in an HTML page—could use that GIF as their cue to jump past what they did not need to hear in order to get to the information that they did want to hear.

      This is pretty genius! Although I am confused how exactly they will be able to click on the GIF, but nonetheless it's a pretty impressive code solution. Tech savvy blind people should have every right to be able to skip around content and have easy accessibility throughout sites as anyone else does.

    6. (We had no plans to include audio, so addressing the needs of people who are deaf or hard of hearing was not in our plan.)

      I'm confused why they didn't feel the need to include audio? I know accommodating for every disability out there is tedious and difficult, but being blind and or deaf are both very common disabilities that should both be addressed. Maybe Williams could have elaborated why they didn't include audio..

    7. Learning to create scholarly digital archives that take into account these human differences is a necessary task no one has yet undertaken.

      Why is that? We are so far advanced as a society but we can't seem to find solutions for those with disabilities?

    8. For example, visually impaired people take advantage of digital technologies for “accessibility,” technologies that (with their oral/aural and tactile interfaces) are fascinatingly different than the standard screen-keyboard-mouse combination, forcing us to rethink our embodied relationship to data.

      The visually impaired should be able to easily access a oral setting that will help them navigate through the site easier. I know that companies don't want to make this an option because adding on resources also adds on expenses and stress that they don't deem necessary, but we as technical writers should do our best to have our client understand the importance of catering to those few with disabilities who have the potential to make a huge difference.

    9. Digital knowledge tools that assume everyone approaches information with the same abilities and using the same methods risk excluding a large percentage of people. In fact, such tools actually do the work of disabling people by preventing them from using digital resources altogether.

      I agree with this statement. I think it's definitely easier and cost effective to generalize the execution of information in a way that "one size fits all" but it definitely excludes a majority of people that need to be taken into consideration. Those with disabilities should not be excluded because of a monetary excuse or because it's too much work to spend the extra time to make the modifications that would help this particular group of people out.

    10. While professionals working in educational technology and commercial web design have made significant progress in meeting the needs of such users, the humanities scholars creating digital projects all too often fail to take these needs into account.

      Williams is saying that the more technical and engineering side of technical writing has advanced more in helping those with disabilities than the actual writers. I think it's more difficult for the writer to achieve content that alleviates all of these disabilities. I don't think they've neglected it, but they definitely have a more tedious task than software programmers who work on the back side of things while it's the front side that actually gets presented and needs to execute the content in the appropriate manner.

    11. As a result, many of the otherwise most valuable digital resources are useless for people who are—for example—deaf or hard of hearing, as well as for people who are blind, have low vision, or have difficulty distinguishing particular colors.

      I think it's important as a tech writer to also consider people in your audience who have disabilities and cannot easily navigate or find the content on a site because they're blind, can't see colors, deaf, etc.

      I know it's difficult to accommodate to everyone's needs, but it's important to acknowledge those with disabilities and try our best to figure out ways to allow them to not miss out on vital content.