Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Just want to read the departmental newsletter at lunch

Who knew, RantWoman would wind up celebrating #IDPD2018, International Day Persons with Disabilities two ways, one with a find after an average #a11y usability exercise and one connected to RantWoman’s usual transportation fixations. Transportation gets its own post. #IDPD2018 also comes with thoughts in celebration of the #ADA and thoughts for the #RIP41 thread. Because of the ADA, because of lots of people contributing pieces to the design of both physical and technological infrastructure, RantWoman has tools and the website below incorporates may design elements so that RantWoman can “read” the content mostly with the tools she has, tools that enable #accessibility for LOTS of different content.


#ux designers note: those Move to main content links are incredibly helpful if one does not want to have to reread a bunch of things every time one switches to a new page.


This link is to the departmental newsletter for RantWoman’s graduate program.


Here is a link from one of the tabs found with a Form Field List (Ins F5 in JAWS.


Here is the topical disability-related content.
Sarah Phillips (Anthropology/REEI) spent three weeks in Ukraine and Russia in November participating in several conferences and promoting her book Disability and Mobile Citizenship in Post-Soviet Ukraine, which was just published in Russian by Karazin University Press. Phillips did a book presentation at America House in Kyiv, delivered a talk at the plenary session of the annual conference of the Ukrainian Sociological Association in Kharkiv, and did a book presentation and research talk at European University in Saint Petersburg. In Moscow she was a co-organizer of the conference Breaking Down Barriers 2.0: New Approaches to Disability Studies, at the National Research University Higher School of Economics. The conference was co-sponsored by IU’s Russian Studies Workshop and brought scholars and practitioners from all over Russia to discuss new trends in disability studies and advocacy.


RantWoman will at some point forward the link to a blind colleague in the program. RantWoman used to read for Blind colleague, back in the mists of prehistory when people wrote exams on bluebooks instead of on the computer. RantWoman also worked in academic tech support and sometimes paid attention to blind colleague’s tech support interests. Blind colleague just wanted it to work and that was more than enough. These days, RantWoman still tends to know more about the technology side of things, and RantWoman is happy to forward things to blind colleague. However, RantWoman only forwards things she knows will work and along with whatever tricks will make them work.


Tech details: Windows 10, IE 11 JAWS 2018  Also tried with Chrome


RantWoman is not even bothering to go back and find the link for the page this came from. Instead RantWoman is going to comment about the process of finding this article. RantWoman clicked on a link out of an email and opened the first link above. The Screen reader read her the whole page including the items on the Left. RantWoman did a links list and then a headings list and could not find the content on the left. So RantWoman resorted to clicking with the mouse. Then it occurred to RantWoman to do a Form Fields list (Ins + F5 in JAWS). There RantWoman found the different items listed and moved to one of the items and hit enter. Accessibility standards apparently are fine with the page changing and no audio notification. RantWoman could see visually that something changed but JAWS was not finding the content.

At that point, RantWoman went to lunch, came back decided to try with Chrome and then tried again. Same results as above though it occurred to RantWoman just to refresh the screen with F5. At that point JAWS found the content and RantWoman read this item. Yeah. Oh, and voila, the same refresh the screen thing also worked in Internet Explorer.


Woot. Now RantWoman can send on to Blind Colleague. Well, except for one more point common in the zone of area studies: the newsletter actually contains content in several languages. RantWoman has so far not nailed down any tricks that would read the content in the right languagesor in some cases at all. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 29, 2018


Today in unplanned accessibility Testing


Part 1, Meetup.com


RantWoman fell in with Meetup.com and its Android app as a result of clicking on a link in an email. Meetup is about creating groups and scheduling events for the groups. RantWoman would say the platform does that well, including email followup s and reminders—except that accessibility is imperfect.


RantWoman fell in with Meetup as a result of signing up for email, possibly from Open Seattle.  RantWoman really likes the mix of technology-very-specific groups, cultural; affinity (hundreds of Russian Speakers in several groups for instance, and age or locality specific groups. RantWoman already has too much on her schedule to explore much but RantWoman thinks others would find it worthwhile to explore. Exploring and signing up for groups is free; managing groups comes with a modest monthly fee depending on the size of the group.


RantWoman did not really think about full-blown accessibility testing. For one thing, RantWoman has enough vision that, when she loses patience about some screen reader issue, she just works visually at 4x magnification with a mouse etc. That works well enough for RantWoman…until…until RantWoman decided to experiment using Meetup for a group devoted to technology issues for Blind and Low Vision users.


Now two things happen:


  1. First, a  totally blind member of the meetup group really who likes other Meetups complains about many of the same accessibility issues RantWoman has detected. Group Member has been imploring RantWoman to please tell the developers so they do not think Group member is the only one on the planet complaining. So folks, consider yourselves notified and if RantWoman is lucky exact details MAY Be forthcoming.
  2. Second, RantWoman did fine about scheduling many meetups on the calendar. But rantWoman wants about once a month to edit info about the upcoming meetup and then to send email notification to the whole membership. RantWoman has not been able to do either task using JAWS alone.  RantWoman thinks the former was easier to do in the old, not updated version of Meetup; the latter task lives in Group administrator functions. RantWoman does the task infrequently and always has to poke around to find the right functionality.  Yet RantWoman persists. And probably if RantWoman is going to continue to pay for Meetup services and worse yet to recommend Meetup to other blind users, RantWoman SHOULD put on her politest email possible and request “PLEASE fix the accessibility issues!”

Part 2. SignUp Genius


RantWoman  has previously blogged of misadventures with SignUp Genius and her faith community. RantWoman and her faith community are reminding each other over numerous accessibility issues why we really need a faith community. Nothing like mutual distress to warm the channels of community life.


The short version, the following comments in sequence during the intro expansion from one small group:


“Oh, I hope it’s accessible.”


“How about if you find something better, let us know.”


“Okay, RantWoman, why don’t you take the lead…?”


Um, NO! Facepalm! Facepalm AGAIN!  Y’all are missing the point. TEAMWORK. Shared discussion of requirements. A path to greater attention to accessibility issues is enough. Plus the user pool is less techie than the pool of people using Meetup and RantWoman is also trying to be patient with the reality that the people perpetrating Signup Genius Have Probably Never Implemented an IT Project.


Reprise of many sordid details.



At this point, RantWoman still owes the developers some detail gripes BUT Signup genius wants people to have an invitation or to type in the originator’s email every time one wants to find  a signup. RantWoman is peeved that, despite more than one request,  no one has sent her the invitation link. RantWoman is peeved because for one thing the Android version of the app does not deal with autorotate and typing an email address over and over in a tiny keyboard just increases rantWoman’s level of peeve!


RantWoman is also peeved because RantWoman would be happy to sign up for tasks. However The List View of the signups has dates all the way back to July and no option for only showing dates going forward. RantWoman actually things that view is sometimes useful but most of the time she just wants dates going forward.


There is also a calendar view. It does fine about starting with a current date and going forward EXCEPT that the screen reader reads every single date, not just the dates when there is something to sign up for.


And furthermore, one popular option for dealing with general difficultiessigning up: go find the person advocating Signup genius and ask her to do the signup. Facepalm! If the POINT of signup genius is not to have to find a live human or to sign up at hours the live human is not likely to be engaged or ….

Stay tuned for the next exciting episodes…

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


The Short version:


To City Attorney Pete Holmes and the Seattle City Council:


Please drop the charges against the 3 faith leaders arrested in April at the site of the new Families and Youth Justice Facility, aka the new Youth Jail. Rather than prosecuting people for non-volent acts of conscience, let’s please focus everyone’s time, energy, and resources on concrete steps toward the goal asserted by many people of zero youth detention.


The longer version:

From RantWoman’s morning email:


“Except that the woman is short, has no backpack, there is a resemblance to you. Did you get yourself in some trouble I have yet to hear about? And camouflaged yourself with fairy dust so no one would know?”


No NO NO.It ain’t me you’re looking for.


RantWoman celebrates the passion and irony of people willing to get arrested and risk Going to Jail for protesting construction of a new jail. RantWoman thinks the taxpayers should definitely have been better on the ball when the public was being sold on the need for a spiffy modern facility: retrofitting the old facility and investing in better community resources would probably have been a way better deal. And morning news about continuing challenges in the WA foster care system, legislative quests for more peer support for people with mental health issues, and a host of other important initiatives absolutely deserve attention and resources.


 The hat is not enough for positive ID though. RantWoman has been known, in her more self-righteous youth, to participate in “Please Arrest Me” political protests; now in crabby middle-age, RantWoman sometimes just stares blankly when white liberal employers say “good for you” when the subject comes up. RantWoman wants to say “so, um what are you doing to help cut the flow of people into the criminal justice system? And what are you doing to hire other people besides RantWoman who have been through more of the criminal justice system????


Inquiring minds….


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Terrible Bus Driver Day Part 2

Last week while remembering Metro Driver Mark Mclaughlin who was killed in the line of duty 20 years ago, RantWoman promised reflections about a different terrible bus driver day in her life: the day Blind (college) Roommate died, Monday November 27, 1989, the year Gorbachev went to China, the year of the Tien an Mien massacre. RantWoman and Blind Roommate were both in graduate school at the time, RantWoman in IN and Blind Roommate in NJ. RantWoman and Blind Roommate had not talked since RantWoman returned midsummer from a study abroad trip.


From a blog post weaving several threads.

:Blind Roommate was killed a few years after college. She died for being 5 feet tall and crossing the street in front of a bus at dusk on a late fall evening. [This part is the terrible bus driver day part mentioned above, a point RantWoman has not even thought about until now. RantWoman notes the terrible bus driver day without rancor, only deep sorrow.] RantWoman lived a few states away and could not do much except go through her address book and phone and phone and get as many nearer people to the memorial as possible.

“RantWoman also called Blind Roommate's parents who generally liked RantWoman in spite of not walking near certain topics. The call delivered the desired level of emotional content though RantWoman was discomfited by Blind Roommate's mother observing that other people had suffered at the same intersection.

“RantWoman asked whether they planned any kind of investigation or lawsuit and they said no. RantWoman does not think nearly everything it is fashionable to sue about merits legal bluster but does believe legal levers are one way to bring added emphasis to public policy concerns such as badly designed infrastructure or inappropriate traffic behavior that might otherwise be overlooked. RantWoman does not necessarily blame shell-shocked loved ones for not wanting to keep reliving hurt during a legal process, but RantWoman reserves the right to wonder...”


Over time RantWoman has marked this awful date in different ways: a long phone call crying with another person important to Blind Roommate, meandering electronically through what the internet shows of events and places important to Blind roommate, a parade of musical moments off Youtube, a Facebook search that turned up blind roommate’s sister who helpfully listed her maiden name in her FB profile and a niece and namesake. This year, apparently RantWoman is to think about the person who drove the bus at the time of the accident.


RantWoman though does not want to linger long in what she imagines must be great pain. Instead RantWoman means to play some favorite music, to borrow some of Blind roommate’s zeal for standing up to the problems of the day and to mix in a bit of her sense of humor, all of which are sorely needed just now.


Friday, November 23, 2018

PAUSE to remember

Twenty years is twenty years. Thank you Metro for remembering, and thank you for choosing this Friday rather than the actual calendar date.

Where were you when...

In appreciation of all the drivers on the front lines of many many people's mental health issues Metro Transit Alert - Buses will pause briefly in a moment of reflection at 3:20 PM for Mark McLaughlin on 11/23: .

RantWoman was eating a burrito in Greenwood when the news of a bus going off the Aurora Bridge tumbled out of her t-t-transistor radio / baby Walkman (ancient 20th century communication device). The date is seared in RantWoman's memory because it is also the late RantDad's birthday and the anniversary of a different kind of terrible bus driver day. RantWoman was somewhat moping over these two occasions. Nothing like terrible fresh news to jolt one out of mopes about old stuff.

RantWoman imagines she gasped but in the moment there was nothing to do except pray, finish the burrito, and be glad she could get home on the 48 without going anywhere near the accident scene. Anyway, thank you to everyone for remembering.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Congratulations to STAR Center Founder Sarah Edick

The item below is the draft of a resolution edited slightly and approved by the WA Council of the Blind http://wcbinfo.org at its 2018 convention at the Crowne Plaza Seatac November 1-3 2018.   


RantWoman also wants to note: Sarah Edick is one of the founders of the STAR Center www.starofseattle.org



Resolution in Recognition of Sarah Edick and the work of the WA Low Income Housing Alliance.

November 2018

WA Council of the Blind state Convention


Whereas affordable housing convenient to work and to necessary daily activities such as health care, shopping and community participation is of vital interest to everyone and especially to people who face barriers such as disabilities


Whereas housing supply and affordability are acute concerns throughout WA and


Whereas development of new housing resources all too often displaces people who are blind and / or have other disabilities and


Whereas the WA Low Income Housing Alliance http://wliha.org   is a statewide housing advocacy organization promoting civic participation about housing issues through legislative advocacy, an annual lobby day in Olympia, voter registration, skills training, and networking among other activities and


Whereas The Tacoma Tenants’ Organizing Committee https://www.facebook.com/TacomaTenants/?ref=br_rs  including PCAB member Sarah Edick waged a successful campaign including media events, testimony before the Tacoma city Council and other organizing  to educate the public about the impact of the housing affordability crisis and to mitigate displacement caused by redevelopment of the Tiki housing complex





WCB Thanks Sarah Edick for her advocacy and congratulates her as part of the Tacoma Tenants Organizing Committee, recognized by the annual WLIHA Nancy Amidei Prize in Movement Building.


WCB encourages Sarah, the Advocacy and Legislative committees to help connect interested individual WCB members and chapters with the activities and advocacy of the WLIHA with an eye to longer term collaboration.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Currency, accessibly

Jesus Christ on a pizza crust with kimchi and goat cheese!


RantWoman received information about the new currency identifier devices now, finally, after a lawsuit by the American Council of the Blind and much foot-dragging by the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, there is a path, well two paths to greater currency #accessibility: there is a new bill identifier available through the Bureau of Printing and Engraving to qualified individuals. Or there are Android and iOS apps. RantWoman encourages her readers just to stick with the apps if at all possible.




First the Android app is dead simple. RantWoman installed it and got a warning that the app was designed for an earlier version of Android, but it installed and worked fine as far as RantWoman can tell in Android 9. . One just places one’s phone over the bill aligned with the bill and then raises the phone until the voices determines the denomination and whether front or back. What could be easier?  Well, besides actual accessible currency that one does not need a special device to distinguish, like dozens of other countries already have.


Here is the link to the BEP site including fillable application forms in both English and Spanish, with promo text.


“The Bureau of Engraving and Printing makes available a free currency reader, that a bill can be inserted into, that will say the denomination of US Currency, to all blind or visually impaired persons that are US Citizens or Legal US Residents: https://www.bep.gov/uscurrencyreaderform.html 


Or if one is already a customer of the WA Talking Book and Braille Library or other NLS affiliate library, one can apply for the device on that basis. Or come to the STAR Center in person…


One point on the application that is making RantWoman’s head explode: there is a question about whether the applicant is a US citizen or legal permanent resident. The Friendly Neighborhood Center does not ask this question. RantWoman does not want to know in the first place. In the second place, What Difference Does it Make???? One’s citizenship or permanent residence status has nothing at all to do with whether one needs this device! If one is blind and spends cash in the US, one needs this capability. Or, to be repetitive, the Bureau of Printing and Engraving could just make accessible currency.


End of Tirade.