Monday, September 12, 2016

Software Faithfully

RantWoman is again attempting to realize some of that interpersonal reward and spiritual communion promised by the average faith community. RantWoman has found when one mixes matters of software and accessibility with faith community, the results can be, um, unpredictable. Examples:

1. A pillar of the Friendly Neighborhood Center for Extreme Computing complained recently that her faith community's website was designed using something too modern for her mix of assistive technology. For a bunch of different reasons, RantWoman bets she is not the only member of that community vexed by the issue. Faith communities tend not to be the most sophisticated buyers of technology and technology services, but RantWoman is allowed to dream of improvements in the direction of more and more diverse accessibility efforts!

2. Take Cortana. PLEASE Take Cortana. Take it somewhere and fix all the accessibility problems. In the meantime, did not have but would still seriously consider the following conversation:

"...why don't you just use Cortana...?"

RantWoman thought bubble: do you know the N of testers it takes to break Cortana and realize it does not work for blind people. The N is 1!

Duuude, RantWoman is preety sure your #startup has move than 5 employees. RantWoman would be extremely surprised if you where not also engaged in interstate commerce, selling your product, recruiting staff...

Therefore should RantWoman or any of the bright competent blind people RantWoman knows decide to apply for a job at your #startup, if you mention Cortana, you should expect to hear the question "what is the essential job function you are trying to perform?"

Then there would need to be a conversation about "here is how I propose to perform that function, and here are the following reasonable accommodations I will need to do that."

So far, RantWoman has not felt an urge to work at this exact #startup, but RantWoman is likely to have the same conversation with Startup Guy anyway in an effort to avoid options for driving each other crazy.

3. Thank you for not taking it personally.
Once upon a time, RantWoman happened to mention that a product previously managed  by someone RantWoman knows had appeared on the National Federation of The Blind's annual "Make it accessible NOW" resolution list.  RantWoman believes the project was inaccessible both at the beginning and at the end of her fellow worshipper's responsibility for it. Even though everyone else around RantWoman was shocked, shocked, appalled and offended that RantWoman mentioned him by name, he graciously did not take it personally when RantWoman mentioned his name and the problem in passing.

4. Sarcastically, Thank you for caring:
RantWoman once vexed another person from her faith community  with irritation: it used to be necessary to download updates for one of his company's products fairly often. However the download process was continually plagued by accessibility problems affecting every blind person on the planet. One time RantWoman complained about this to the person she knows. RantWoman was HOPING he would look up some magical directory and route her email straight to responsible people. RantWoman would not even have minded if the person she knows had said something like "Would you please fix this because I am tired of this person bothering me?" Alas, instead, RantWoman got referred to some accessibility page several levels down from the corporate homepage..

RantWoman has been thinking of this earlier experience recently because the same software company employee recommended another of the company's products. RantWoman would say the overall user experience is somewhere in the realm of beta testing for everyone so RantWoman has so far opted not to howl and yowl because RantWoman has not figured out screen reader usage with some features RantWoman can see on the screen.

And people wonder why RantWoman is not an incessantly bubbly  and joyous person to be around.

Happy Start of a New Week

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