Hello friend, and thank you for your interest in this post. If you are a skeptical person you might find it hard to believe there really is a blind man behind these words. Well, it’s true: I am a successful totally blind person; what I mean by this is, after losing my sight 20 years ago, at the age of 34, I successfully adapted to blindness and have accomplished many things I have set out to do. I have been working online for profits for the last 7 years, and building a thriving business the Wealthy Affiliate way is my most recent undertaking, which I am quite excited about sharing with you.
However, this is not a brag thread, instead, it’s meant to serve as inspiration and encouragement to anyone who might be having a difficult time making things happen for themselves; and of course, hopefully to help other blind folks who might want to follow in my footsteps. I also hope my sighted readers find it enlightening to learn a bit about Web Accessibility, and how this is all possible for a person in my condition.
Before I proceed, I must say I am a man of faith. I believe God All Mighty, who gave me life, is the driving force behind everything I’m able to do, so to Him be the Glory!
Now, regardless of what your spiritual belief is, when it comes to business, one thing can’t be denied: True success can only be attained through honest hard work. It is also certain we need each other to help us along the way; this is what makes Wealthy Affiliate such a great place. The WA support community is amazing and you can get acquainted with it, and all of the other awesome platform features right here, with an
absolutely, 100% FREE ACCOUNT!
With that said, if you are blind yourself, feel free to skip ahead to other headings, since you are most likely already familiar with the next couple of headings.
What is Web Accessibility?
This term encapsulates every aspect of making it possible for people with disabilities to use the Internet, including the elderly and their changing abilities due to aging. It encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, namely: visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities.
Web Accessibility is work in progress, which unfortunately is often neglected. However, there has been great improvement in recent years due to the fact technological advance serves to improve productivity in all areas of the global society. The Internet has become an important resource impacting various aspects of our lives, such as education, government, employment, health, commerce and education, to name a few, hence the importance of accessibility and equal opportunity for everyone.
The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, has been quoted saying: “The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” Mr. Berners-Lee is also the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an organization dedicated to leading the web to its full potential and responsible for the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), which provides guidelines and techniques that describe accessibility solutions for Web software and Web developers. These WAI guidelines are considered the international standard for Web accessibility, and everyone participating in any form of web development should be aware of their existence. For anyone interested in more information, you can
visit the WAI introduction page.
A Little Info about Blindness
At times I find it amusing to hear some of the misconceptions people have about visual impairment or how blind folks operate; so I’m including this portion as general information for the sake of completeness since you might find it interesting to read.
An often misunderstood fact is not all cases of blindness are the same. For instance, there are people suffering from varying degrees of vision loss while still retaining some level of perception; these are said to have “Low Vision,” and there’s a great variety of them around us.
In the US, there are parameters to establish the capacity of sufferers to function normally, therefore a person might be designated as “Legally Blind” and be eligible to receive government assistance in various forms. The criteria for legal blindness are:
Visual acuity of 20/200 or worse in the better eye with corrective lenses, which means a person at 20 feet from an eye chart can see what a person with normal vision can see at 200 feet; or visual field restriction to 20 degrees diameter or less in the better eye. People outside this criteria find themselves forced to struggle with their limitation without this support.
For some the loss may be peripheral, which means these individuals can only see through the central area of their eyes; this is also known as “Tunnel Vision.” The reverse can also occur, where the central vision is lost and a person can only see out of the corner of their eyes, so to speak. Still other folks might be affected by a number of blind spots, allowing them only to catch glimpses in between them, or their vision might be blurred to the point of making it impossible to decipher what is in front of them.
In the case of total vision loss, some people might retain light perception, meaning the person is capable of differentiating day and night, a well-lit room from a dark one, or even use the projection of light to help them move about more efficiently. Finally, there’s total blindness, or a complete loss of perception as it is my case, generally due to absolute optic nerve damage. As you would guess, the broad spectrum of cases can be traced to specific troubled areas of the vision system, and believe me, this list is not exhaustive.
Where The Magic Is At
Technology is the big word behind the possibility of a blind person using a computer. More specifically, Access Technology is the branch responsible for helping people with disabilities accomplish everyday tasks. A wide range of products can be found within this category to suit the needs of diverse types of disabilities, but, in this post I am focusing solely on blindness, since it is my case and what I can write about from experience.
The primary tool enabling me to work at my computer and on the web is commonly known as a Screen Reader. It is a software program designed to read the text displayed on the computer screen with a speech synthesizer or braille display. I am not really fluent in Braille, which is an alphabet code system relying on tactile dots to represent all of the aspects of text, therefore I prefer the audible option.
The product I use is named JAWS for Windows, which stands for Job Access With Speech, and is produced by Freedom Scientific, a company also manufacturing various magnifiers, scanners, readers, and Braille displays. This software provides an interface between the computer’s operating system, its applications, and the user (that’s me in this case, LOL). With it I can type characters as anyone else would, as the synthesizer speaks out loud what I’m typing.
Similarly, via commands I can request for the synthesizer to read or spell a word, read a line or a full portion of text, find a string of text on the screen, announce the location of the computer’s cursor or focused item, etc.
Various commands can be executed by pressing different combinations of keys on the computer keyboard, thereby instructing the speech synthesizer what to read, and to automatically speak which changes occur on the computer screen, allowing for customization according to the user’s preference.
Additionally, other more advanced functions can be performed, such as reading highlighted text, reading tables, identifying the active choice in a menu, completing form fields, accessing links, announcing graphics, using the spell checker in a word processor or reading the cells of a spreadsheet, to name a few.
The Technology at WA Can Also Help You
In my time working as a Wealthy Affiliate member I have been pleasantly surprised at their commitment to stay on the cutting edge of technological advancement. I have seen numerous upgrades to their platforms, and the addition of many features geared to making its members more profitable. Helping you become a successful affiliate is their goal, and they are living up to it by offering the following:
• 30-second website building platform
• Fast state-of-the-art hosting
• Jaaxy keyword research
• Awesome content writing tool
• Search Engine Optimization techniques
• Effective niche selection
• Profitable blogging training
Affiliate marketing is a simple, flexible and practical way to make money from home anyone with the desire to improve their finances can implement, and Wealthy Affiliate is hands down the best place to make this happen. In addition, I have chosen to help people build their online home business as my main affiliate niche, therefore I am committed to helping you personally in any way I can, disabled or not.
More about niches in this article.
How Accessible is Wealthy Affiliate
For the sake of honesty I must report WA is not the most blind friendly site I have ever experienced, but gladly, it is not the worse either. This means some basic guidelines of accessibility have been implemented; in addition, since the beginning the administration has assured me of the support I can expect and I haven’t been disappointed.
I admit I haven’t made it a priority to pursue accessibility improvements to the WA platforms, because building my business already consumes most of my time and energy, but, the fact you are reading my blog serves as proof I have been able to maneuver. However, I have also let it be known I would be happy to collaborate with my feedback in the effort to make WA more accessible, not only for myself, but for the vast amount of disabled individuals who could benefit by participating and become important contributors to its wonderful community.
Simply put, I am looking to help folks who are sick and tired of their circumstances, who are willing to set aside the excuses, and who are ready to start doing something to change it all right now
All you need to start is a computer, Internet connection, and a…
Add to that the desire to make things happen, and you are well on your way to affiliate riches. If you are visually impaired you can count on me to help you every step of the way.
Wealthy Affiliate is accessible and so am I, so reach out to me and let me share my experience with you.
Please write your questions and comments below, and let’s go crush it!
On your side,