“It’s too difficult to use”. “It’s not accessible”. “All my family use it and I cannot join in”. “I’m trying to access part of it on my phone and it’s not working as I expect it to.” Those are just some of the sentiments a lot of people express about Facebook. But it shouldn’t be like that should it when we as blind people are always striving for inclusion?
The good news is that we are able to access most aspects of Facebook very well when using the JAWS for Windows screen-reader and a web browser. Our new training course for July, “about-Face, JAWS for Windows and Facebook for Beginners”, will show you not only how to work with Facebook, but also gives lots of information about how you can customise JAWS so as to gain the best experience possible.
Facebook has become one of the most popular social networking sites of all time. The site can be accessed from many devices containing a web browser and which is connected to the Internet. It should be about having fun, getting information, sharing content or perhaps using it to promote a service. The course will show you how to do all of these things on a daily basis without thinking too much about the accessibility!
How JAWS Interacts with Facebook.
Ordinarily, JAWS interacts well with both the Facebook Mobile and Facebook Desktop sites. While undoubtedly users of our Leasey product will gain a far better experience when using Facebook, if you do not have this product there is still a lot you can do to customise JAWS to provide a better experience, and to use some of the tools to improve your ability to navigate Facebook so as to gain more from it. While the course will describe the Leasey keystrokes and the experience you will receive when using it, the assumption is that you do not have it installed so as to appeal to the widest possible audience. You will also find that some of the techniques learned in this course when using JAWS will benefit you when working with many internet sites.
What Will I Learn?
The course is divided into three sessions, each of an hour’s duration. The topics will include:
Customising JAWS to be more effective when using Facebook.
Facebook Mobile versus Facebook Desktop.
Creating a Facebook account.
Editing your Facebook profile.
Security and Privacy.
Searching for friends and pages of interest.
Sorting the News Feed.
Reviewing the News Feed.
Liking or reacting to a Facebook post.
Commenting on Facebook posts.
Creating a Facebook post.
Editing a Facebook post.
Attaching images to Facebook posts.
Adding alternative text to images for use with screen-readers.
The Facebook Notifications area.
Accepting Facebook Friend requests and checking them out first.
Viewing Facebook friends.
Sending private messages to friends.
Viewing the Facebook profile of a friend.
Working with Facebook groups.
Viewing Facebook posts on selected pages.
Note that there is scope for a more advanced training course on the management of Facebook pages which is not covered here.
Who is the Course For?
This course is suited to anyone who has always wanted to use Facebook but has been unsure how to begin, through to those who are using it already but would like to gain a better experience when using it.
There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions regarding the topics under discussion, however this is achieved in a structured manner. This ensures that you can focus on learning the concepts being taught.
If I Purchase the Course, What Will I Receive?
The course will be delivered online via our accessible Talking Communities server. If you have not used this conferencing software before, you will receive instructions prior to the commencement of the course. This software allows for the delivery of the presentation, including the output from the screen-reading software. The audio is of a high quality.
The course will give to you:
Four lessons starting 12 July 2017. Each lesson will begin at 7 PM UK time, (2 PM Eastern), each Wednesday;
An audio recording of each lesson in MP3 format;
Text documentation comprising a list of keystrokes to reinforce topics covered in the lessons.
An email list active prior to (and during) the course so you can ask questions outside tuition time.
The proposed dates for the course sessions are as follows:
All recordings, documentation and the Talking Communities chat room are accessed through a secure area of our website which is only available to course participants. If you cannot make those dates, please don’t worry. You can still take advantage of the Email list and the archives of the webinars, which are usually uploaded the following day after editing.
The cost of the course is £40 which is currently 52 US dollars.
The course fee can be ppaid at any time between now and 5 July 2017.
Purchase About-Face Online.
Alternatively, anyone can purchase the course by sending an Email to email@example.com, whereupon a fully accessible electronic invoice will be sent to you which can be paid through PayPal or any major credit or debit card. Orders can also be placed by telephone:
Call us (from within the UK): 02920-850298.
Call us (from the United States): 415-871-0626.
Call us (from any other country): (+44)2920-850298.
If you would like to read the views from participants of our previous courses, please Visit our Training area.
It is important that you have:
Good keyboarding skills;
A computer with an internet connection;
A microphone so as to ask questions within the course;
JAWS for Windows screen-reader;
Access to Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome web browser.
It is true that Facebook is not as intuitive to use as Twitter, principally because of Desktop programs which have been designed for the purpose of working with tweets which do not require interaction with a web site. However, the Facebook community is huge. If you would like to be part of it, then getting some useful skills to work with Facebook could be just what you need. Jump into the pool, the water’s fine!
Choose Hartgen Consultancy for high quality JAWS Script Writing, training and our products including J-Say, J-Dictate and Leasey.
Telephone (in the UK) 02920-850298.
Telephone (in the United States of America) 1-415-871-0626.
Telephone (from any other country) +44-2920-820598.
The Albert A. Ruel Road to Blindness
A 21 year old man stood on the beach at the Sproat Lake Provincial Park with friends early in May of 1977, and upon gazing across the lake found the Gulf Oil sign missing from the dock-side filling station there. When this fact was shared with his companions they glanced at him with puzzled looks and said, “No Albert, the sign is still there”.
That was the beginning of a road through confusion, anger, isolation, loneliness and discovery for me. It all began with a visit to a local Optometrist who could see that my vision wasn’t right, but that corrective lenses wouldn’t help. He then referred me to a General Practitioner, where I received a clean bill of health and an additional referral. This time to an Ophthalmologist. Immediately upon peering through the dilated pupils, Dr. McKerricher was able to see the problem, Retinal Vasculitis.
Now, you would think that all would start to improve at this point, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You see, CNIB, from 1918 until 1985 only served the needs of people who were “Legally Blind”, a level of vision loss I wouldn’t reach until November of 1979. The words of Dr. McKerricher still echo in my mind today, “Albert, I don’t know what has caused this and nothing we’ve tried is helping to stop it, and you’re not blind enough for me to refer you to CNIB”!
In the middle of this transition from 20/20 vision to “Legally Blind” came the Motor Vehicle Branch and it’s rules of the road. On August 3, 1978 I drove a car for the last time as my vision had reached the level at which operating a motor vehicle became too dangerous, further intensifying feelings of fear, isolation and anger. Sadly, through this period the only available guidance and support was through family and friends, but not the experienced professionals I needed at the time. Although these support systems are critically important they can often be smothering and facilitating, rather than encouraging and supportive.
With gratitude, and some trepidation I finally was able to access CNIB services in November of 1979, and the world opened up then. There I was able to meet other blind people and receive the daily living and mobility skills required to live independently in this sighted world. I learned elementary braille and began to discover technology as necessary tools of independence.
Thankfully, in 1985 CNIB’s National Board altered the course of service to visually impaired Canadians forever. They added a third prong to their Mission Statement, “To promote sight enhancement services”. This opened the door to all Canadians who were beginning to lose sight, as well as those who had a fear of vision loss to access the full range of CNIB Support and Rehabilitation Services. So now, whether it’s someone’s Mother who is experiencing Macular Degeneration, or an Uncle experiencing the affects of Glaucoma, all have the ability to seek information, guidance and support as all involved deal with the fear and anxiety that accompanies such life altering experiences.
With the help of professional Rehabilitation Workers and Employment Counselors I was able to continue traveling independently within my own community, and even more remarkably anywhere in the world I desired to go. I managed to attend College in Nanaimo and New Westminster, as well as traveling to the Mayo Clinic and to doctor’s appointments in Nanaimo and Vancouver without assistance. All of this while living with some usable vision, but not yet needing a white cane for travel.
During the mid 1980’s I was a stay-at-home Dad and did all that was required of that challenging work, from changing diapers to preparing meals, and from cutting the grass to maintaining our home. I even took a woodworking course through Alberni’s Adult Education program and built and restored several pieces of furniture. Of course the 1958 Chevy Impala in the garage was my pride and joy, and I devised ways to do much of the work it required.
I also joined and participated in many community activities, like the local Car Club, and a disability support group that catered to the needs of people with many different disabilities. Of course, continued participation in family life remained of critical importance through this period.
In 1989 a secondary condition began to extinguish the vision that remained, which set into motion a new stream of professional rehabilitation services and supports. By the spring of 1990 Glaucoma had turned out the lights completely, and the darkness I had feared so desperately was upon me. Strangely though, I found this to be a great relief rather than the tragedy I had imagined it would be.
Through several professional rehabilitation sessions, and by joining peer mentoring and advocacy groups I was able to come to terms with this strange feeling, and to learn additional skills and strategies for living with no visual cues of the world around me. This is also about the time that I decided to explore CNIB as an employer, and to see if I could provide the sort of guidance and support to others that had been my pleasure to receive. Those 14 years were a wonderful experience of ongoing discovery for me, as teaching may be the best way to solidify one’s own learning. In other words, those we assist through this transition in turn help us all as we develop best practices and improved service.
Following a 14 year career with CNIB I also served the blind community as the first National Equality Director employed by the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), and as a Basic Computer Literacy Trainer with the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB). Most recently I have enjoyed coordinating the CCB’s newly launched Get Together with Technology Program in Western Canada, which brings to the fore my passion for assistive technology and the power of peer mentoring.
Without sight I have continued to travel far and wide, with trips to Conventions of and for the Blind in Anaheim California and Melbourne Australia, as well as to many events and activities in Toronto and Vancouver. Of course my work has taken me to many communities throughout Western Canada, and most particularly nearly all regions of BC and on Vancouver Island. None of which would have been possible without the services and support of organizations like CCB, AEBC and CNIB.
For most people blindness generates a fear of extended movement, both within one’s home and community, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Independence comes from personal desire and increased skill. Many community organizations can assist with both through their mentoring and skill development programs. I remember always that life has little to do with what happens to me and 100% what I do about/with it. There is a quote I like to use from the National Federation of the Blind in the USA, “With adequate skill development and opportunity blindness can be reduced to the level of a nuisance”, and nothing could be closer to the truth.
Helen Keller said many years ago, “There is nothing more tragic than someone who has sight, but no vision”. She also challenged the Lions Clubs of the world to become the “Knights of the Blind, and to take up the crusade against darkness”. I too joined a Lions Club in 1992 and continue to work on the crusade that Helen Keller began in the 1920-s.
View all posts by Albert Ruel